Renewed call for end to landfill in West Sussex

Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert has renewed his call to end the practice of dumping rubbish in landfill sites and to find better ways to deal with waste.

Mr Herbert was speaking on the BBC's Politics Show on Sunday afternoon (25 January) from the Smallmead Waste Management Facility in Reading.

Mr Herbert, who was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs last week (19 January), is supporting the efforts of local campaigners who are trying to stop the designation of two new landfill sites in his Arundel and South Downs constituency.

One of the sites under threat is Rock Common near Washington.  It has been the subject of a long-running planning application, originally submitted by Veolia Environmental Services in January 2007.  It met with fierce opposition from the local community who, since then, have been in limbo while Veolia has been considering its response to a number of objections from the Environment Agency.

Two years on, a revised planning application from Veolia will be considered by West Sussex County Council's Planning Committee on 10 February. 

Elsewhere, the planning application for a new landfill site at Laybrook Brickworks near Thakeham may be available for public consultation within the next two weeks.  The proposals, drawn up by Cory Environmental, have been greeted with dismay by local residents, councillors and campaigners from Thakeham Village Action.

With a new state-of-the-art waste recycling plant planned for Warnham near Horsham, the County Council has confirmed in meetings with Mr Herbert that they will not require additional landfill capacity for the County's household waste.  Instead, the Council is planning new landfill sites for the disposal of commercial and industrial waste, along with 10 per cent of the waste exported from London.

Speaking on The Politics Show, Mr Herbert said that he was pleased that Mayor Boris Johnson was focusing on the problem of London's waste, but continued: "I represent a county, West Sussex, where we're going to have to take 2.6 million tonnes of waste from London over the next 20 years which may mean that we have to landfill in West Sussex, in beautiful parts of the countryside, where otherwise we wouldn't have to.  It's just not acceptable in this day and age to go on landfilling like this and, actually, the landfill sites are going to run out anyway. 

"So the future must lie in reducing waste.  I think that does mean ‘responsibility deals' with producers and businesses.  They've got to accept their share of the responsibility and it also requires us as consumers to realise that we can all save a lot of money if we reduce food waste.  £400 a year is wasted by families on food that they chuck out and I think that if we can get that across, that will help the situation.

"I think everyone can be a winner here.  I think consumers can save money.  I think businesses could save money too if they find ways to reduce waste and reduce packaging.  There are lots of pilot studies which are showing that and, at the end of the day, the environment does matter too.  It does matter that we produce less CO2, which is a major contributor to climate change, and if we go on doing things like landfilling we're not helping that situation."



Notes for Editors

1. A peaceful protest will be held outside County Hall in Chichester on Tuesday 10 February before West Sussex County Council's Planning Committee considers the revised application for a landfill site at Rock Common near Washington. The protest will take place from 9.30am and is being organised by the Chanctonbury Landfill Action Group (CLAG). Nick Herbert is planning to meet the protestors outside County Hall and give evidence to the Planning Committee.

2. For the website of CLAG, who are campaigning against the proposed landfill site at Rock Common near Washington, visit

3. For the website of Thakeham Village Action (TVA), who are campaigning against the proposed landfill site at Laybrook Brickworks near Thakeham, visit

4. For details of TVA's campaign, visit

5. For the website of the Small Dole Action Group (SDAG), who are campaigning for the closure of Horton Landfill Site near Small Dole, visit

6. Following a waste summit organised by Nick Herbert last year, CLAG, TVA and SDAG joined forces to form a new campaigning organisation called Zero Landfill. For further details, visit

Christopher N Howarth