Calls for crisis meeting over access to High Moor landfill

A GIANT landfill operator has backed an environmental campaigner’s request for a key meeting over access to the borough’s most controversial tip.

The move surrounds a key road linking the High Moor site at Scouthead to the main A62 Oldham-Huddersfield Road.

The road was built across agricultural land to allow lorries and heavy plant vehicles access to the landfill, which closed for tipping in January last year.

Highmoor closed
ACCESS CONCERNS: High Moor landfill

But the original agreement, set up before current owners Veolia Environmental Services (VES) took over, requires the road to return to agricultural land within 12 months of landfill operations ending.

The site still produces gas for the National Grid and giant tankers which visit on weekdays will have to remove leachate for up to 30 years.

Now Saddleworth Parish Councillor Robert Knotts is pushing for a vital high level meeting with VES and Oldham Councill over fears that if the existing road closes, vehicles would have to use a narrow road through a residential area or a country lane for access.

In a letter to planners, Cllr Knotts stresses Oldham Council had to grant the application to return the road to the landowner.

But he added: “Knowing the site will be producing gas for many years to come and leachate tankers, heavy plant, lifting equipment and other vehicles will require access, OMBC has totally ignored the potential problem.

Rob Knotts
Cllr Rob Knotts

“Highways should have considered the impact of tankers and heavy vehicles and equipment on the roads left for access – Thorpe Lane and Doctor Lane.

“My view is OMBC should have looked beyond its decision and at the consequences of the road closure.”

John Molyneux, Veolia’s Northern Area Aftercare Manager, said: “We support the proposal from Robert Knotts for a joint meeting to be arranged with the relevant parties.

“As part of the planning conditions for opening the site in the mid-1990s, it was laid down the access road from the A62 would be required to be returned back to agricultural use within twelve months of the site’s closure.

“The previous landowner has now submitted a planning application to return the road to agricultural land which has been approved by the local Parish Council and Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council, despite our requesting the latter delay for 21 days.

“While traffic to and from the site has declined dramatically and is now limited to three or four HGV vehicles daily with the site closed at weekends, we do not think there has been sufficient consultation about this planning application.

“We have always worked closely with the community to resolve local concerns,” he added.

A spokesperson for Oldham Council said the local authority supports the call for a meeting and will work with the community to try and resolve residents’ concerns.

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