Work at a tip to stop the terrible stink that is plaguing neighbours is likely to miss deadline, it has been announced.
After months of complaints from people living nearby, the Clayton Hall tip in Whittle-le-Woods was served with an enforcement notice by the Environment Agency.
Tip operators Quercia were ordered to undertake remedial works to stop the smell, and were banned from taking in new rubbish until the works were done.
The operators were given a deadline of March 19 to complete the works, but yesterday warned that they would be likely to miss this deadline, blaming the recent bad weather.
A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “Currently, the work on site is around 85 percent complete.
“Quercia Ltd has told the Environment Agency that there is a risk that they may not completely finish the work by March 19. This is primarily because of the difficult weather conditions over the last couple of weeks. The company has told the Environment Agency that they expect the work will now be completed by March 26 at the latest.”
The agency has warned that Quercia could now be liable to a fine for breaching the order.
People living in nearby Whittle, Clayton-le-Woods and Buckshaw Village have complained that the terrible smell is giving them headaches and causing nausea and difficulty sleeping.
Buckshaw resident Andy Plant said: “I can’t sit in my house because it stinks of rotten egg.”
Emissions in the area are being monitored to ensure there are no health risks.
Councillor Alistair Bradley, Leader of Chorley Council, said: “This is completely unacceptable and we feel we have no option now but to write immediately to the Secretary of State and ask him to intervene.
“Just a couple of weeks ago Quercia publicly declared that they were well on track to beat the March 19 deadline. While I appreciate we have had some bad weather this has been going on for months and seems to be just another excuse.
“What they’ve demonstrated to us, by not being able to do what they said they were going to do, is that they are unfit to operate the tip.
“The secretary of State needs to ensure the Environment Agency has all the tools and resources it needs to get this problem resolved as soon as possible and direct action needs to be taken.
“We’ll be demanding that he either gives this council or the Environment Agency direct powers to intervene so we can get this problem resolved once and for all.” Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Director of Public Health and Wellbeing, who is leading a multi-agency group set up in response to the odour problem, said: “We are extremely concerned that Quercia may not be able to finish the capping work at Clayton Hall landfill site within the deadline given to them by the Environment Agency. “We understand how frustrated local residents and businesses are with the situation and they have had to put up with this odour issue for too long. “Our primary concern remains protecting the wellbeing of people living close to the landfill. Given this issue is going on for the last 3 months, I have asked Public Health England to review the evidence base to assess the ongoing risks to public health. “We will also be reviewing the situation at a multi-agency meeting which is being held on Friday.”