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Public Health Wales continues to advocate for urgent action on air monitoring

Published: 21 May 2024

Public Health Wales recognise that local people are very concerned about the odours around the landfill site at Withyhedge. We continue to call for improved air quality data to be provided, to allow us to make a health risk assessment of the site.

This is in addition to our original recommendation that urgent action was taken to address the source of the odours.

This week, Public Health Wales met with elected representatives of neighbouring communities near Withyhedge Landfill, regarding the issue of significant odours emanating from the site.
Since early this year, Public Health Wales have been working with Natural Resources Wales who are the lead agency managing this incident. It is possible that odours and emissions from the site may be harmful to health, but without data is difficult to know for sure. We have consistently presented advice that air quality monitoring is needed to gain an accurate understanding of the potential health impacts of emissions on the local community. 
We have now received some long-term air quality data which is currently being reviewed. However, we are still awaiting additional short-term monitoring data as this will enable a more complete picture and allow a fuller assessment of any potential health impacts on neighbouring communities.

Our advice to people remains to keep windows and doors closed when the smells are present and to seek medical advice if necessary. We continue to advocate for urgent action to resolve this issue as soon as possible.

Dr Giri Shankar, Director of Health Protection for Public Health Wales, said:

“Public Health Wales have been advocating for the odours to be addressed urgently, as well as for detailed independent air quality monitoring to be carried out, for several months. This is the only way we can gain an accurate picture of the potential physical harms to health.

“Residents have been experiencing distress as a result of the foul smells and their need for a rapid solution is understandable. The impact on mental health should not be underestimated either. We continue to advocate for urgent action to find a resolution to this issue as soon as possible.”