Issue 27 December 2002





Landfill expansion proposed
by Andrew Green

New owners of Parkwood landfill, Viridor Waste Management, want to open up a fourth tipping area (or ‘cell’) between the existing landfill and the Ski village at Parkwood Springs.

Following its inquiry into the smells and environmental and health problems reported by local residents, a Sheffield City Council report recommended early completion and landscaping of the cell nearest the new houses adjacent to the landfill at Kingsmead. But Viridor is offering instead to build a bank of inert material to screen the houses from the landfill.

The inert material would be earth from the unused area south of the landfill, leased from Sheffield Council and given planning permission for industrial use in 1996. Viridor would then use the hole they would create as a new cell. To do this, they would need planning permission for the change of use and a new waste management licence.

Viridor claims to play ‘a leading role in enhancing and maintaining the quality of the environment.’ As owner of a large number of landfill sites across the UK, its assets consist mainly of the volume of landfill space it can offer to customers. Viridor acknowledges that ‘landfill will continue to underpin our waste management system for many years’; sometimes it is the Best Practical Environmental Option, Viridor told a House of Commons Select Committee in 2000.

During the Foot and Mouth mass cull, Viridor disposed of large numbers of carcasses at landfill sites. Local residents complained of ‘vomit-inducing’ emissions. In northern Ireland a local group have long campaigned against Viridor’s proposed ‘superdump’ which, they allege, will pollute Larne Lough.

In Sussex, Viridor set up a consortium, Viridor-Tiru, to bid for the contract to build two incinerators for Brighton and Hove Council. Part owners of Tiru are Onyx, who intend to build the giant incinerator in Sheffield. Ash from this and other incinerators is dumped at Parkwood.

In the two years to March 2002, Viridor increased its waste management turnover from £63 million to £125 million, almost doubling its operating profit which rose from £8m to £15m. Viridor is owned by Pennon Group plc, based in Exeter.

Sheffield Council offered to set up a liaison group where people living near Parkwood could hear reports on management and plans for the site, and express concerns. When members of Parkwood Landfill Action Group (PLAG) arrived at the first meeting, they discovered that the liaison group was to be wholly run and controlled by Viridor. No one from Shirecliffe was invited, although Shirecliffe residents complain of serious environmental problems caused by the landfill and have long campaigned for its closure.

Shirecliffe residents told the Messenger that since Viridor took over the smell had been intolerable. Every other day, ‘putrid’ smells were seeping into their houses. Brian Wilson said it was ‘absolutely disgusting’ that the Council had handed over control of the liaison group to Viridor.

PLAG are organising a petition to oppose permission for the site extension.


PLAG, c/o Green City Action, Abbeyfield House, Abbeyfield Road, Sheffield S4


Shirecliffe Tenants’ and Residents’ Association 0114 242 3366


Map of Parkwood Landfill. showing the proposed expansion.
Click on map for enlarged view.