Environment Agency must do more to protect boy, 5, from landfill fumes, rules court

The high court has ruled the Environment Agency must do more to protect a five-year-old boy from landfill fumes which doctors say are shortening his life expectancy.

In a judicial review, brought on behalf of Mathew Richards, lawyers argued his respiratory health problems were being worsened by fumes from a landfill site near his home in Silverdale, near Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Dr Ian Sinha, a paediatric respiratory consultant at Alder Hey children’s hospital, said exposure to hydrogen sulphide fumes from the site “will have a lifelong detrimental effect on Mathew’s future respiratory health” and would reduce his life expectancy.

Campaigners welcomed the judgment, handed down by Mr Justice Fordham on Thursday morning, which said although the EA had not breached its legal obligations, it had not yet “addressed its legal duties in the way that it must”.

“There is an obvious and pressing public interest imperative that it must do so, as a matter of urgency,” the judgment read.

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