Lack of soil blamed for delays at landfill site

Biffa waste site, in Withnell
Biffa waste site, in Withnell

Work to restore a controversial Chorley landfill could be delayed by up to two years due to a lack of soil.

The news comes just weeks after residents living close to the site in Bolton Road, Withnell, were told that a 78 metre wind turbine could be erected once it is officially closed.

Now, in a second blow, they have received letters to inform them that Biffa, who own the land, have asked for an extension to March 2013 to complete the restoration work which was expected to be finished last month.

Bryan Bayliss, who chaired the Biffa Action Group, said: “After 28 long years of the site being used as a landfill we finally thought we could see the end in sight, but then this happens. It’s a long time to wait until 2013, especially as the work should be finished by now, but I don’t think there is much we can do.

“I will be making comments and representations on the new application, but if it’s not finished it’s not finished and there won’t be much that we can do.”

Neighbour Les Borland, who also helped fight proposals for a second landfill site in the village, added: “The plans have made us highly suspicious. The application says that it is due to a lack of soil, but I don’t understand why the issue has only been highlighted now.

“The fact that they haven’t been able to get enough soil in the first place seems pretty amazing. We just hope it isn’t a front to get the turbine plans passed as we don’t want something like that on our landscape. We have already had to put up with almost three decades of living near a landfill. This just doesn’t seem right.”

Les said that the villagers’ main priority was to see the land restored back to countryside in accordance with the original plans.

A spokesman from Biffa said: “The extension is needed due to a lack in availability of soil and is out of our control. We hope the delay doesn’t cause any disruption.”