Urgent council meeting to tackle £24m Cannock food waste site smell

By Megan Archer | Cannock | News | Published: | Last Updated:

An urgent council meeting has been called demanding action over the "repulsive stench" coming from a food waste recycling site.

Biffa Poplars landfill, Lichfield Road, Cannock

Cannock Chase District Council leader, Councillor George Adamson, called the meeting to address the ongoing problems at the Biffa-owned Poplars Landfill and Anaerobic Digestion Site.

The meeting will be held at the Civic Offices, in Beecroft Road, Cannock, on January 13 at 10am.

People living nearby complained of strong odours coming from the waste site for several weeks.

A Facebook group called "Cannock tip - stop the stench" has attracted hundreds of members.

And a petition calling for the Environment Agency to take action has hit more than 1,000 signatures.

Councillor Adamson said: "We recognise the major public concern over the ongoing odour emissions from this site.

"Whilst the council is not the regulator for enforcement of the site permit conditions, we have decided to use our scrutiny powers to request that the Environment Agency and Biffa present us with the latest updates on the causes and solutions to this issue, and to address expectations and concerns of local residents.

"My colleague Councillor John Preece, environment portfolio leader, wrote to the Environment Agency before Christmas seeking answers to a number of important questions.


"We await a response to this letter."

Councillor Paul Woodhead, chairman of the community scrutiny committee added: "We hope both the Environment Agency and Biffa will use this opportunity to explain to all concerned what exactly is causing this issue, how long this problem will persist and what steps will be taken to prevent a recurrence.

"It is also important that residents are reassured that there are no health implications."

Councillor Adamson added: "Once the Scrutiny Committee has heard from the Environment Agency and Biffa, the council will then consider what additional steps might be available to ensure this issue is satisfactorily addressed for the benefit of all residents affected."


Neighbour Teresa Timmins, who lives near the tip, said the smell from the Lichfield Road tip was "repulsive".

She said: "The odour is repulsive and getting worse.

"We have only started to smell it in recent years although we have owned our property for over eight years.

"I believe it’s since the site has expanded. Residents should not be subjected to these smells. Not only is it impacting upon our lives but it is embarrassing should we have visitors to the area."

Biffa has said it is aware of the complaints at the landfill and food waste site and is investigating.

Its flagship food waste plant in Cannock opened in April 2011, costing £24 million, and has the capacity to handle up to 120,000 tons of food waste per year.

It uses anaerobic digestion to break down the food waste in the absence of oxygen by micro-organisms called methanogens.

The process of anaerobic digestion provides a source of renewable energy, as the waste is broken down to produce bio gas.

A separate row has broken out over smells coming from Highfields waste disposal site in Walsall Wood.

Megan Archer

By Megan Archer
Chief Reporter - @MeganA_Star

Chief Reporter with the Express & Star. Give me a call on 01902 319363 or email


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