Families in ’emotional distress’ over landfill that stinks of ‘rotting flesh’

News

Mental health support is being offered to residents who live near a landfill site which stinks of ‘rotting flesh’.

Thousands of complaints have been filed over the stench emanating from Walleys Quarry in Silverdale, near Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire.

The pungent odour has sparked anxiety and depression in some locals, while others are struggling to sleep, StokeOnTrentLive reports.

The ‘acrid’ smell from the site is so strong it burns the back of the throat, according to one resident.

However, a new service is now offering counselling and support to people suffering from mental health issues because of the smell.

Anyone who develops more severe anxiety disorders or depression requiring further psychological support may also be offered treatment.

The service is being provided by Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) in partnership with North Staffs Mind and Changes Health & Wellbeing.

Jennie Collier, managing director of MPFT’s Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent’s Care Group, said: “People living in the area around Walleys Quarry who contact the service are reporting the odour from the site is having a detrimental impact on their mental health.

“This has manifested itself as depression, anxiety, stress, sleep disorders and other issues. In recognition of the ongoing situation at the site, we are working alongside our colleagues at North Staffs Mind and Changes to enhance the support on offer to residents to help to make a difference.”

Kate Boundy, chief executive of North Staffs Mind, which is providing counselling, said: “We are pleased to be part of such a proactive partnership which will offer a range of mental health support to local people at a particularly challenging time.”

Support groups will take place at a local working men’s club and a community centre.

Dave Wheat, chief executive of Changes, which has set up support groups, said: “Our groups provide a safe space where residents can join with others affected by Walleys Quarry to offer each other support, share insights and learn ways of coping with mental distress.”

It comes after thousands of complaints were made to Newcastle Borough Council over the stench coming from Walleys Quarry.

Residents claim the nasty smell is so bad it burns the back of the throat.

Suzi Stringer, 40, who lives near the site, previously said: “On a normal day there is a faint odour like you have left your bin open. But on a bad day, when the wind is blowing from there and there is cold air, it makes you physically wretch and we get really bad headaches.

“When people make deliveries they say ‘what the hell is that smell outside your house?’

“It smells like faeces, rotting flesh, out-of-date meat, and a used bag of nappies. It’s an eggy smell.

“There’s a certain smell we get every now and again which is a really acrid chemical smell that burns the back of your throat and makes your eyes sting.”

Mum Beckie Currie, 41, previously said she is woken by her five-year-old son Mathew coughing every night, sometimes until he vomits.

“Our children are being gassed in their beds. We’re being poisoned, and no-one is doing anything about it,” she said.

By the morning her baby Denzil’s eyes are red raw and itching.

Both her boys suffer frequent nosebleeds.

Hundreds have taken part in protests at the headquarters of the site’s operator, Red Industries.

Local councillors have called for the site’s permit to be suspended.

Red Industries only bought the site in 2016. They previously said they’ve accelerated “an extensive capping programme which will seal a substantial and extensive area of the site.”

They added: “This capping programme will continue throughout the remaining life of the quarry, which will stop accepting waste in December 2026.”