Agenda and minutes

Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Monday 20th November 2023 12:30pm

Venue: Newcastle UL Borough Councill Office - Astley Room Ground Floor

Contact: Zach Simister  Email:


No. Item



Additional documents:


Declarations of Interest

Additional documents:


There were no Declarations of Interest on this occasion.



Health impacts of Walleys Quarry Landfill Site, Silverdale pdf icon PDF 134 KB

To consider matters relating to Walley’s Quarry Landfill Site with a focus on health implications for residents.

Additional documents:


Katie Spence - Regional Deputy Director Health Protection from the UK Health Security Agency(UKHSA), Alec Dobney - Regional Head, Environmental Hazards and Emergencies from the UKHSA, Will Proto – Consultant for Health Protection from the UKHSA, Steve Barlow – Public Health Registrar from the UKHSA, Nesta Barker – Service Director, Regulatory Services from Newcastle Under-Lyme Borough Council and Dr Richard Harling, Director of Health & Care from Staffordshire County Council attended the Committee to discuss the Health Risk Assessment of air quality monitoring results from March 2021 to August 2023 at Walleys Quarry Landfill Site and the health impacts.


The Committee were advised that on 5 October 2023 the Environment Agency (EA) announced that there were concerns around the accuracy of the historic hydrogen sulphide date collected around the Walleys Quarry Landfill site.


The Chairman informed Committee that the Environment Agency had been invited to attend the Committee however, the EA had declined the invitation. The Chairman, on behalf of the Committee, wrote to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Minister for Environmental Quality and Resilience to request that the EA reconsider their position to not attend the Committee. The Minister for Environmental Quality and Resilience wrote back to the Chairman to advise that “the EA believe that Staffordshire County Council have all the information requested to inform their discussion at the Health Scrutiny Committee. Consequently, they have decided not to attend.”


The Committee expressed their disappointment that the EA had not attended the meeting to answer questions that the Committee may have had and requested that the correspondence be made publicly available. The Chairman agreed.


The UKHSA informed Committee that:


·         Due to the issues with the calibration of monitoring equipment raised by the EA, the historic hydrogen sulphide data that UKHSA had used to produce monthly risk assessments since March 2021 now had a greater degree of uncertainty.

·         No reference to the monitored hydrogen sulphide data had been included within August’s risk assessment.

·         Due to the historic hydrogen sulphide data having a greater degree of uncertainty which currently invalidates the previous human health risk assessments, UKHSA could at this stage only qualitatively assess the risk to human health on a theoretical basis assuming that the local population may have been exposed to levels of hydrogen sulphide above the long-term health-based guidance value prior to September 2023.

·         Pending further investigation, the new hydrogen sulphide data could not form a continuation of the old datasets.

·         To assess short-term peak exposures, UKHSA compare data to Acute Exposure Guideline Values (AEGLs)

·         Historic data reported in March 2021 showed that AEGL-1 had been exceeded. Without confidence in the current hydrogen sulphide dataset UKHSA could not say whether further breaches of the AEGL-1 had occurred. However, hydrogen sulphide concentrations would have been required to be a factor of 50 times higher to reach the AEGL-2 values, where there may have been concern for irreversible or other serious long-lasting effects of impaired ability to escape, which was extremely unlikely.


The UKHSA  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43.