Staffordshire residents complaining of headaches and nausea from nearby landfill stench
ITV News Correspondent Ben Chapman reports on the residents fearing for their long-term health
Residents living near a landfill site in Staffordshire have said its unbearable stench is harming their health, with some complaining of dizziness, asthma attacks and headaches.
A gas called hydrogen sulphide emanates from Walleys Quarry in Newcastle-under-Lyme and the smell has worsened in recent months.
Thousands have reported the "nauseating" fumes, similar to those from rotten eggs or a gas leak, to the Environment Agency. Together with local MP Aaron Bell, locals have started a "stop the stink" campaign.
"Quite often, we'll wake up at three o'clock in the morning - coughing, feeling sick," resident Suzi Stringer told ITV News.
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"The kids wake up at that time and they won't go back to sleep again".
Ms Stringer added that the smell has forced her to move out at times.
Other residents, like Phoebe Smith, have begun taping up their doors and windows to try to keep the stench out. "We're really concerned that breathing in this hydrogen sulphide constantly, every night, is going to effect our physical health in the long term.
Local resident Suzi said the smell limits her children from playing outdoors
"Mentally, it's really destroying our wellbeing," Ms Smith said.
At the beginning of March, the Environment Agency detected levels of gas that were far higher than the limits set by the World Health Organization.
The levels of gas have dropped since the company running the landfill site was told to start covering parts of it. Additionally, Public Health England has said the smell is unlikely to cause serious problems. Local GP Dr Paul Scott, however, said the effect on his patients' mental health isn't trivial.
Phoebe Smith is worried the fumes may impact her long-term health
"They feel the public health bodies and the Environment Agency have been really slow to react...saying, 'it's mild to moderate issues, it's not going to kill you'.
"But the effect on many people's quality of life has been horrendous," Dr Scott said. The landfill's owner, Red Industries, said it's on track to meet a deadline for capping and other improvements on Friday. But residents, many of whom have been here longer than the landfill site, believe the only way to "stop the stink" is to stop rubbish being brought to their doorstep.