Houghton landfill site campaigners in Brussels to demand tip closure

CONCERNED: Colin Wakefield

CONCERNED: Colin Wakefield

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CAMPAIGNERS are heading to Brussels today to continue their fight against the controversial landfill site at Houghton Quarry.

Members of Residents Against Toxic Site (Rats), Councillors Colin Wakefield and Sheila Ellis, will hold talks with EU officials tomorrow.

They will address the petitions committee and hope to convince the European Commission to overturn the original decision to grant permission for the landfill site.

Central to their argument will be the £132,000 fine recently handed down to Biffa, which runs the site, after pollution to the local drinking water supply was discovered.

Coun Wakefield said: “I am pleased that we have been invited back for further meetings in Brussels, and we will take this opportunity to update the committee on the latest developments.

“We have fought this campaign over many years and will continue to do so.

“RATS always said this was not the right place for a landfill site and the recent court case shows that we were right. Without tremendous pressure from RATS those prosecutions would not have happened.”

Conservative MEP for the North East, Martin Callanan, said: “As a member of the European Parliament’s environment and public health committee and as MEP for the North East,

“I have taken a particular interest in this case over many years. It is quite clear that local people are not happy with the situation and I applaud the efforts of RATS who have campaigned long and hard for a satisfactory outcome.

“I am pleased that the group have this opportunity to make their case to the petitions committee and I will be looking closely at the outcome of the meeting.

“It is also clear that there are further questions related to the decision to close the pumping station at Stoneygate, and I am keen to understand why that decision was taken.”