RESIDENTS have called for action against the Johnstown landfill site following a large fire which left an ‘atrocious smell’ during an already difficult time.

Fire crews from Johnstown, Wrexham, Llangollen, Ellesmere, Chirk and Llangollen, together with an incident command unit, were mobilised to Hafod Quarry landfill in Johnstown at 7.12pm Wednesday.

Residents living in and around the area of Bangor Road, Johnstown, were advised to keep all windows and doors closed due to toxic fumes as firefighters tackled the fire.

As firefighters continued to deal with the incident, a change in wind direction meant that smoke affected Wrexham town, and residents were advised to keep windows and doors shut.

Charlotte Roberts said: “I'm in early stages of pregnancy and also have an 18-month-old child. This Covid lockdown has meant we have to stay home, so our garden and little walks have been so important to our family and now we see on social media to close windows and doors due to the "toxic fumes" so it's taken away even our garden.

"I'm worried about the virus and now these "toxic fumes" to add to this already difficult time.”

Kelly Bellis who lives on Heol Kenyon said: “I am very concerned. I find it totally unacceptable that this has happened and there are now toxic fumes to worry about as well as covid 19.

“Myself and my daughter have asthma and I barely slept as I was so worried about the effects of the fumes from this fire. We are already on lockdown to our homes and gardens and now we are unable to use our gardens due to the toxic fumes - how is this fair? The landfill affects our lives daily around here and now is having a massive impact in an already difficult and worrying time.”

Wendy Williams, who suffers COPD and is prone to pneumonia has been shielding for 9-weeks and she said despite windows being closed, she still feels breathless from the ‘thick smog and vile smell’.

Annette Casey added: “My house is stinking of smoke and I have lung disease, been shielding for 9-weeks, not fair.”

An application for the infilling of Hafod Quarry with domestic, commercial and industrial refuse was refused by the former Clwyd County Council, but later granted by the Welsh Secretary on appeal in July 1995.

The Leader previously reported that in 2012, campaigners lost their legal battle to limit the lifespan of the landfill site.

Maxine Tudor said: “I live close to the site and I must say I’ve never seen anything like it. The smoke was thick and black and it smelt really bad. It’s ok advising us to close all windows and doors but myself (55 years) need air, especially at night.

“I’ve had a disgusting taste in the back of my throat and have physically vomited twice, it’s much too hot to be indoors with windows closed so I’m having to go to my daughter’s for a day or two while the horrible smell dies down. Shut the landfill, we don’t have to endure this anymore, it’s absolutely shocking.”

Mark William Glaspole said: “I’ve lived at Bangor Road over 18 years and the landfill has smelt most of the time. Recently action was taken to reduce the odour and it did seem to get better, but this fire and the scale of it has all the residents of Johnstown extremely worried especially as we have been told the odour is toxic. I hope action is taken so this never happens again. We all need some kind of reassurance.”

Residents have raised concerns over the flies in the summer and the smell on a regular basis but say action must be taken as the large fire leads to more safety concerns.

Lisa Marie Ackerley said: “It should definitely be shut down, the smell is atrocious, flies and gulls are a nuisance too. And this fire is the icing on the cake, just think about the toxins we are breathing in. This could have been a lot worse if it wasn’t for our firefighters.”

The smoke could be seen and smelt from as far as Abermorddu.


One resident, who did not wish to be named, said the experience was frightening as she called the fire service.

She told the Leader the fire could have been much worse if the wind was travelling in the other direction.

An investigation into what caused the fire has been launched.

The site is regulated by Natural Resources Wales and run by Enovert.

Mark Silvester, Chief Executive of Enovert, said: “We understand the concerns of residents and apologise for this incident. Our priority is always to run a safe and compliant site with minimal disruption to the local community.  

"We are continuing work on site with the North Wales Fire & Rescue Service to bring the incident to a close as quickly possible."

A spokesman for Wrexham Council said: “Wrexham Council has no connections to this site which is privately owned and operated. We do not use the facility for any of our household waste and have no financial interests in its operation. The site gained planning approval on appeal in 2004 by the Welsh Government Planning Inspectorate. It is regulated by Natural Resources Wales.”

Natural Resources Wales advised residents to keep their windows and doors closed as the team worked in partnership with emergency services.

Ann Weedy, operations manager for Natural Resources Wales said: "At present, our officers are on the site to support NWFRS and will continue to monitor for any potential impact on the local environment or risk to the local community and the surrounding areas.

“Fires can have a serious impact on people and the environment, so it’s imperative that we work with our multi-agency partners NWFRS, North Wales Police, Wrexham County Borough Council and Public Health Wales throughout the incident to ensure that the fire is brought under control and to safeguard local residents.”

Dr Huw Brunt, Lead Consultant in Environmental Public Health at Public Health Wales added: “Smoke can irritate airways, the skin and the eyes leading to coughing and wheezing, breathlessness and chest pain. People with asthma and other respiratory conditions may become unwell because of smoke; those with asthma should carry their inhaler with them at all times.

“Odours associated with fires can cause annoyance, stress and anxiety, nausea, headaches or dizziness. These are common reactions to odours, rather than to the substances that cause the smell. We are able to detect odours at levels that are much lower than can cause harm to health.”

Anyone concerned about their symptoms should contact their GP or NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. Any symptoms usually disappear quickly and should not lead to long term health problems.