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Human sewage was dumped in a quarry
A COMPANY has admitted it should have told residents before dumping 40,000 tonnes of human sewage into a quarry.
Peter Bennie Ltd has been accused of operating under a “cloak of secrecy” in its use of digested biosolids to restore Wroxton Fields Quarry.
The site near Banbury is to receive 50,000 tonnes of the treated waste, which is used to help soil return to a useful state after minerals have been extracted.
But residents said they were not consulted and fear the foul-smelling material, dumped over the last six months, may be hazardous to their health.
Business development manager Peter Bennie said the firm had not made residents aware because the practice was so commonplace.
He said: “We should really have alerted people to it in advance, but the issue has only arisen in the last two or three weeks.
“We are doing this sort of thing all the time.”
Wroxton Parish Council chairman Michael Robarts raised concerns at a meeting of Oxfordshire County Council’s planning and regulation committee last Monday.
He said: “It is extremely smelly when the wind is in a certain direction – this is very unpleasant stuff.And there has been a cloak of secrecy, no proper consultation and everyone seems very unwilling to talk about it.
“It is probably too late to do much about it, because we have got 40,000 of the 50,000 tonnes already on site.
“But we are really concerned about a potential abuse of process.”
Committee member Ray Jelf said: “What they have done is wrong. It has to go through the right route. I personally think some action should be taken.”
Council deputy director for environment and economy Huw Jones said the firm did not need planning permission.
There had been a “technical breach” of rules because it had done work prior to officially handing the quarry back to its owners, but this did not warrant enforcement action, he said.
He added: “I investigated this and I can’t find any record that we were consulted by the Environment Agency.
“But they have licensed it and I have now received a letter confirming that.
“The best I can suggest is that we raise it with them so next time we are informed about this in advance.”
The councillors agreed to write to the government’s Environment Agency and ask to be informed about other human waste dumping in future.
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