There’s not much cheer for patrons of the Huncote Leisure Centre as the District Council issue their latest update on work to solve the problem of landfill gas which saw closure of the facility late last year.
In a statement released on Friday 25th March the Council said:
“Since last November Blaby District Council has been working tirelessly to resolve the landfill gas issues at Huncote Leisure Centre, following the discovery of elevated levels during routine maintenance works.
“Throughout this period, a large amount of work has been undertaken, including the installation of gas extraction systems, venting wells, water sampling equipment and monitoring points.
“The Council has a legal duty to prevent any landfill gas or contaminants from leaving the site and to keep on-site gas levels below safe thresholds. To ensure a long-term solution is delivered further works need to take place whilst monitoring continues during high and low pressure atmospheric conditions, as landfill gas levels vary depending on the pressure in the atmosphere.
“Therefore we can confirm that Huncote Leisure Centre and the surrounding site, including the public footpaths and parish council sports field, will continue to remain closed for the foreseeable future.
“Over the last few months some people have removed, or even damaged the fencing in place to protect people in order to walk over the affected fields. To maximise the safety of everyone and to ensure the security of the site, improved fencing will be erected around the site.
“The site will remain closed for the foreseeable future to enable us to ensure the long-term safety of people using the site. The Council’s priority remains to ensure that the site and surrounds are made safe for the long term, and residents and any future site users are protected. We will continue to revisit our decision to keep the site closed regularly, in close liaison with, and on the advice of our specialist contractors.
“We appreciate that this is a loss of amenity for those people that use the site and can assure you we are doing all we can to ensure the site is safe, and we thank you all for your patience.
“Residents living around the site should continue to be reassured that there is no immediate risk to property. Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service have confirmed that residents do not need to keep their windows and doors closed and we are continuing to monitor the landfill gas levels of those properties within the vicinity of the site, whilst any work continues.”
Deadly landfill legacy
Commenting on the closure Councillor Terry Richardson, Leader of Blaby District Council said: “The decision to keep the whole of the Huncote site closed is not one we have taken lightly.
“A lot of time has been spent by our officers and contractors, who have worked incredibly hard to try and reduce the landfill gas levels.
“We are increasing the amount of money we had previously committed to make sure that these works are undertaken, but we are under no illusions that there is still work to do to get us into the position we need to be in for the site to be safe for the long term.
“This is an area of land that was a landfill site until the 1970s at a time when it was thought landfill sites would decompose and stop producing gas around 10 years after they stopped being used. In fact we now know it can take anywhere from 100-150 years and sometimes even longer for this to happen.
“With little or no checks on what was put into the old landfill site, it has meant that there is a mix of items decomposing at different rates, which is causing the excess landfill gas coming from the site.
“We would like to once again thank everyone in the local community and those who have previously used the site for their patience.”