Fears landfill site has ‘reduced’ manpower

The entrance to the Baird's Brae landfill site in Mallusk.
The entrance to the Baird's Brae landfill site in Mallusk.

Mallusk residents have said they fear the local landfill site has reduced its manpower levels, leading to more flies swarming the area.

However, Biffa, which operates the Cottonmount site, dismissed the suggestion and said the facility would be “fully staffed” throughout July.

Mallusk man Paul Malone said he feared the landfill site was running on reduced manpower over the summer months after the area was swamped with flies over the weekend.

He told the Times: “Around the same time last year we had a large fly infestation and the same thing has happened again.

“It leads me to believe that the company’s management reduces the amount of man power over the holiday period and there is not as much done to reduce the flies and the smell.”

Alliance councillor for the area, John Blair added: “Over the course of the weekend I received a number of complaints from Mallusk residents about the increased number of flies in the area.

“I have sought and secured Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) inspections of the site and have requested that I am kept updated regarding discussions with those who manage the Cottonmount site.”

A spokeswoman for Biffa said the company operated the Mallusk landfill site to the “highest standards” with the aim of “avoiding any adverse impact on the locality”.

She said: “Landfill sites can be perceived as encouraging greater than normal levels of flying insects.

“To avoid this possibility at Mallusk, we have a local contractor who applies approved insecticides daily to proactively mitigate any possible problems.”

She continued: “The NIEA inspected the site on July 4 and found no problems with flies.

“We continuously monitor the site to ensure the effectiveness of these measures, particularly during summer months.

“NIEA also inspected on June 25 and noted that the daily cover was good, with no flies.”

She added: “As a facility that is statutorily licensed to handle waste materials, Biffa must ensure compliance with a demanding range of regulatory standards.

“Biffa takes its statutory and local obligations seriously and has sufficient staff deployed on site to ensure the highest quality of operation.

“The site will be fully staffed throughout July to ensure all pumps and engines are working satisfactorily as well as all other operations.

“As part of our continual improvement plan for the site, we are currently installing additional gas extraction infrastructure. Biffa informed local residents of this development via the Mallusk Community Action Group as we wish to ensure the local community is fully aware of any new developments and that Biffa is working hard to minimise any potential or perceived adverse impacts.

“At this site we are working hard to reduce odour, including extensions to our gas collection system and upgrades of our odour suppression system.

“We have and have always had an open door policy and local residents are able to visit the site if they wish. Simply contact the site and we would be delighted to show residents around.”