A CONTROVERSIAL landfill site could close within the next five years after a planning application to extend its life was withdrawn.
Campaigners who have long fought for the closure of the Houghton Quarry site today cautiously welcomed the decision.
Site operator Biffa confirmed to the council on Friday that it was withdrawing its application. It had wanted to continue tipping and landfilling at the site for a further 17 years.
When the company lodged the application in 2011, 2,731 people contacted the council.
Colin Wakefield, chairman of action group Residents Against Toxic Site (Rats) said: “This is a step in the right direction even though its taken them six months to withdraw this application.” Councillor Mel Speding, Sunderland City Council’s Cabinet Secretary, said: “An end is now in sight to landfill works here and only inert waste, which doesn’t produce any chemical reaction, is currently being tipped.”
It is now hoped the landfill site will ultimately be transformed into an employment park.