2014 update: Please note that this page, along with many on the site was originally written in 2009 and some of the effects of the landfill have changed in that time. RATS have decided to leave it as it is though as an archived record of what the people of Houghton-le-Spring have suffered over the years.
Danger on the Roads
Anyone who has driven down the A182 will have noticed that the area between the Quarry entrance and the roundabout at the bottom of Houghtonside estate is always extremely dusty, muddy or wet – even in dry weather. There has been at least one accident caused by the road conditions here.
The tip is right in the middle of town and is just 10 metres (that’s about 30 feet) from the nearest built environment, the scout hut and the Comrades Club. It’s also only about 200 metres from shops and houses. This close proximity can have severe affects on the neighborhood.
Because the quarry site is in the middle of town and right next to businesses and homes, we all have to suffer from site traffic and the contaminated mud it brings out onto the A182, the main road through town. Huge numbers of frequently filthy, heavy vehicles lumber past the town centre and houses leaving the road coated in thick, greasy, polluted mud.
Biffa get rid of water on site to try to make the place look less waterlogged. They admitted at old Liaison meetings that large quantities of polluted water had been pumped away into the aquifer rocks. Since July 2003, large quantities of water have been intermittently spurting up through Biffa's manhole cover at the junction of their site entrance with the A182. They have sole ownership of this sewer.
Queues at the site entrance, only 10 metres from the A182 tail back onto the main road causing dangerous traffic jams. To make matters worse, the site entrance is partially obscured, being at the top of a hill and on a bend. Site Traffic is required not to use the route through the housing estates of Newbottle, yet a large proportion of it does.
At Liaison meetings, Biffa used to claim that they could not improve matters because the land they needed to purchase to make a safe site entrance was in the ownership of the garage opposite. They claimed the owner was asking an exorbitant amount of money for it. In actual fact, they had never even contacted the owner: he was totally unaware of the situation and livid about the lies Biffa told about him!
Recently the council has erected several bollards opposite the site entrance, so this does go some way to protecting pedestrians from heavy traffic. However, these bollards are now a good measure of just how muddy the roads get as they are absolutely caked in mud from the landfill.