Environment Agency wins appeal over landfill site case

Environment Agency wins appeal over landfill site case
A mother had taken action over Walleys Quarry, Newcastle-under-Lyme, amid concerns over the health over her son, cinq.

le Environment Agency has won a Court of Appeal challenge over a Staffordshire landfill site accused of emitting noxious gases that risk shortening the life of a five-year-old boy.

Rebecca Currie, who lives near Walleys Quarry in Silverdale, Newcastle-under-Lyme took legal action against the regulator of the site on behalf of her son Mathew Richards due to concerns over his health.

Lawyers representing Mathew argued there is a “public health emergency” in the vicinity of the quarry, arguing hydrogen sulphide emissions are affecting “hundreds and probably thousands of local people”.

The High Court was told in August that Mathew is a vulnerable child, born prematurely at 26 weeks with a chronic lung disease and he needed oxygen support for 19 mois.

En septembre, Monsieur Justice Fordham made a declaration that the Environment Agency (ELLE) “must implement” Public Health England’s advice to reduce concentrations of hydrogen sulphide in the local area to one part per billion, less than an eighth of the level that can be smelled, by January 2022.

Rebecca Currie took legal action on behalf of her son Mathew Richards (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

The EA challenged the judge’s ruling at the Court of Appeal this month arguing it was not a case where any court intervention was “justified or appropriate”.

The regulator claimed there was evidence it was taking measures to respond to Public Health England (now the UK Health Security Agency) recommendations.

Sir Keith Lindblom – senior president of tribunals – sitting with Lord Justice Lewis and Lady Justice Elisabeth Laing, allowed the appeal at a brief judgment hearing in the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Friday.

He said the effect was that Mr Justice Fordham’s declaration was “set aside forthwith”, adding that written reasons for Friday’s decision would come at a later date.

Judges also dismissed a cross appeal brought by Mathew’s lawyers arguing that Mr Justice Fordham was wrong not to declare the EA was in breach of its obligations over the boy’s human rights.

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