Deadline likely to be extended to fill disused Whittlesey pit as ‘multiple breaches’ revealed of unlawful waste being deposited there

PUBLISHED: 15:32 09 January 2019 | UPDATED: 15:32 09 January 2019

Saxon Pit, Whittlesey, where work could carry on for several years to fill it. The Environment Agency forced work to stop last year after 'multiple breaches' over the type of material being deposited there. PICTURE: Roy Gerstner (blogger).

Saxon Pit, Whittlesey, where work could carry on for several years to fill it. The Environment Agency forced work to stop last year after 'multiple breaches' over the type of material being deposited there. PICTURE: Roy Gerstner (blogger).

Archant

Work has stopped on filling Saxon Pit, Whittlesey – that in places is up to 27 feet deep – following evidence of a “large scale problem” of illegal waste being deposited there.

Saxon Pit, Whittlesey, where work could carry on for several years to fill it. The Environment Agency forced work to stop last year after 'multiple breaches' over the type of material being deposited there. PICTURE: Roy Gerstner (blogger).Saxon Pit, Whittlesey, where work could carry on for several years to fill it. The Environment Agency forced work to stop last year after 'multiple breaches' over the type of material being deposited there. PICTURE: Roy Gerstner (blogger).

Now the site’s owners are being forced back to the planning drawing board to extend by two years their most recent deadline to get the works completed.

Deadlines have been extended on several occasions since work began to fill the site more than 15 years ago. But following odour issues complaints a year ago the Environment Agency revealed “multiple breaches” of the operator’s permit including the mixing and blending of waste.

Shredder residue and trammel fines – inert material containing such things as fibres, plastics, wood, glass and soil – and mixed with clay and lime have been deposited there to a depth of some two metres.

A recent county council report noted that “all work on site has stopped whilst the operator voluntarily comes up with a remediation strategy”.

Saxon Pit, Whittlesey, where work could carry on for several years to fill it. The Environment Agency forced work to stop last year after 'multiple breaches' over the type of material being deposited there. PICTURE: Roy Gerstner (blogger). Saxon Pit, Whittlesey, where work could carry on for several years to fill it. The Environment Agency forced work to stop last year after 'multiple breaches' over the type of material being deposited there. PICTURE: Roy Gerstner (blogger).

The council says that as a result the pit, in Peterborough Road, will not meet current deadlines because of what they term “unauthorised activity”.

Whittlesey Town Council will discuss the issue tonight (Wednesday)as the county council prepares for the final decision on whether to allow the operator to carry on to buttress the southern face of the old quarry.

Former town councillor and self styled ‘community activist’ Roy Gerstner has blogged about the issue in recent years.

He was also part of a contingent of councillors and others invited to see the site last year.

He blogged: “There are now accusations going around about what might or might not be in the old Saxon Pit.

“Let me say that the accusations are serious indeed but we as public do not have the means or knowledge to prove them– this is the job of the Environment Agency. Social media is very confused sometimes between fact and fiction.”

He wrote that the town had been assured last year that the ‘smelly’ material which several residents complained about had been identified by the Environment Agency “and has subsequently been quarantined and is not toxic or hazardous.”

Agents for East Midland Waste Management who submitted the recent planning application told the county council: “We understand that there is a disagreement between the applicants and the EA regarding the volume of material that needs to be removed for reprocessing.”

They say they are confident of matters being resolved – ahead of another application due shortly to infill and stabilise the southern face of the quarry.

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