Melville Landfill Site August Update

Please find below a response to members of the public regarding odour complaints from Lower Melville Wood landfill. This was sent out on Friday 31 July 2020.

Thank you for making SEPA aware of the offensive odour emanating from Lower Melville Wood landfill either last night or early this morning (31 July 2020). It is disappointing that the landfill is still giving off offensive odours, despite the plastic liner (Capping) being laid.

I have notified the site manager of the number of complaints received (13) last night and early this morning.

The site manager informed me that he detected a strong landfill gas odour on the A92 at 07:30 on 31 July 2020. He then carried out an odour assessment to the west of the site. A faint odour was detected in the Giffordtown area. I did also receive five notifications regarding offensive odours in the Auchtermuchty area. 

The capping crew are on the site today laying a geotextile clay liner (GCL) over the plastic liner, which should prevent the further escape of landfill gas from the lined area. The lining material consists of a clay layer which will swell up with any moisture to from a seal. During these works this morning, a tear in the plastic liner was detected. This was repaired immediately and the GCL has now been laid over this part of the cell.

Resource Efficient Solutions have a mobile flare on order, to burn off the landfill gas generated in the cell. This is expected today. As the additional liner is being laid, two of the gas boreholes have been disconnected from the gas collection system. The gas pipework has to be removed to allow the GCL to be laid. The removal of the pipework may have allowed landfill gas to escape, as no gas extraction pressure would be applied to that area. This may be the reason for the landfill gas escaping over the evening period. 

Due to meteorological conditions, the odour intensity may have increased and impacted on residents. Air pressure has decreased over the evening, pushing gas out of any leaks. The escaping gas has not risen into the air and mixed in the atmosphere. As a result, the gas has travelled along the ground depending on any wind and its direction.

A SEPA officer, who resides in Auchtermuchty, detected the gas this morning. They have informed me that the landfill gas escaping was offensive. The landfill gas had dissipated by 10:30 am.

As Scotland continues to reduce its risk to the Coronavirus, restrictions on SEPA staff movement will ease and normal operating practice can resume. SEPA appreciate the public’s support during this difficult period.   

If you want to inform SEPA of offensive odours from the site please email

SEPA Update : Lower Melville Wood Landfill

This update covers the period from 16 May 2020 to 30 June 2020, and identifies what steps SEPA have taken to address the odour emissions from the landfill.

Please see the update sent to Community Councils (Friday 15 May 2020) regarding odour emissions from the site during April and May 2020.   

All SEPA staff are currently working from home but remain contactable through email. 

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we have adapted our incident response procedures. Protecting our staff, operators and the public is our highest priority. As a result, we will only carry out a site visit for events where our physical presence is necessary to rectify the incident. SEPA will continue to operate in line with Scottish Government coronavirus guidelines and where possible will use remote tactics to secure protection of the environment and human health. 

Under normal circumstances, SEPA undertakes routine and proactive odour assessments, which will be resumed as soon as practicable. In the meantime, SEPA appreciate the notifications from the public, which continue to alert us to an issue and press the operators for further actions.

Site Inspection

SEPA have created a new regulatory inspection regime for 2020. Under current lockdown restrictions, the way we normally undertake site inspections is not possible. A regulatory interaction with the site was undertaken on 28 May 2020. 

  1. The site has been relatively quiet over the last two months, with no third party wastes deposited. 
  2. Landfilling operations continue during the pandemic, although some wastes have been directed for incineration.
  3. Monthly monitoring, as required by permit conditions are still being undertaken by the operator.
  4. Composting is due to restart at the site. This may be used in the capping of the completed cells.
  5. In the coming months there will be more processing of skip wastes and household wastes received from Household Waste Recycling Centres.  
  6. The site manger identified that sufficient cover material is being applied at the end of the working day. These materials will prevent the escape of litter, stop scavenging by birds and suppress, to a limited extent, odours escaping. 

Variation to the Permit 

SEPA received an application on 22 June 2020 to vary the PPC permit. This application is request permission to allow the storage of Incinerator Bottom Ash (IBA) at the site and for the storage of bulk food wastes in an enclosed building.

Odours from the Permitted Site

Despite two sets of repairs to the landfill liner, SEPA has continued to receive complaints regarding odours.  

Total number of complaints received from 16 May 2020.  

DateNumber of complaints
21 May 20202
29 May 20203
30 May 20201

Total number of complaints for May 2020 was 39.
Complaints peaked on May 5, with 13 complaints received. See previous update. 
1 June 2020 1
2 June 20201
5 June 20201
8 June 2020 1
11 June 20201
14 June 20203
15 June 20201
16 June 20202
18 June 20201
20 June 20202
22 June 20201
24 June 20204
25 June 20201
26 June 20203

Total number of complaints for June 2020 was 23.Complaints peaked on 24 June 2020, with 4 complaints received.

The site manager, Michael Lee, has notified of the complaints received by SEPA. He has been undertaking odour assessments when travelling to work. Following increased complaints, he will be undertaking odour assessments when leaving the site at the end of the day. 

Some complainants have raised issues regarding his objectivity and SEPA accept that point. This is why SEPA are continuing to stress the importance of the local community making SEPA aware when they are experiencing problems with the site. As Scotland continues to reduce its risk to the Coronavirus. Restrictions on SEPA staff movement will ease and normal operating practice can resume. SEPA appreciate the public’s support during this difficult period.    

All complaints received from members of the public are being recorded. To date SEPA has received 536 complaints in 2020. 


Neil Morrison

Environment Protection Officer  

2 July 2020.

SEPA Update -Lower Melville Wood Landfill

Saturday 28th March

This update covers the period from 2 March 2020 to the 27 March 2020, and identifies what steps SEPA have taken to address the odour emissions from the landfill. 

0n 2 March 2020, the site was visited by SEPA officers. 

When driving past the site on the A92 there was an odour of putrescible wastes, possibly due to the drilling activities.

It was noted that the possidrain lining material was being laid against the piggyback. A drill rig was on-site constructing the gas collection boreholes. At the eastern side of the cells, there was a faint and sporadic landfill gas odour.

The additional groundwater boreholes required on the eastern side of the site (downstream of groundwater flow) have been drilled and installed. 

A proactive odour assessment was undertaken. There was a faint landfill gas odour on the A92 between Angle Park, Sand and Gravels and Melville Lodges Roundabout.

On 26 March 2020, the site manager at Lower Melville Wood Landfill, Michael Lee, confirmed that the laying of the HDPE liner on Phase 3, Cell 2 has been completed.

All the gas collection boreholes are now drilled in the completed cell (Phase 3, Cell 2). 

There is approximately a week of work left to tie in the cap around the perimeter of the cell and make repairs to any damaged areas of the liner.

As the capping work falls under essential construction designations by the Scottish Government, this work has not stopped due to the current lockdown. 

A contractor will attend the site on Monday, 30 March 2020 to begin connecting the gas collection system. Resource Efficient Solutions will provide SEPA with an update on progress at the end of the week. 

Due to the current Coronavirus situation, the Community Council visits are cancelled.

This has also influenced the opportunities to carry out odour assessments. 


Neil Morrison 

Environment Protection Officer

Monday 2 March 2020

Since the Giffordtown Community Council meeting on 18 December 2019, SEPA have carried out the following to address the odour emissions from the landfill site:

1. Proactive odour assessments continue to be undertaken.

  • Twelve odour assessments have been carried out to date.
  • Eight odour assessments have identified offensive odours outwith the site boundary. These were detected on 27 December 2019, 30 and 31 December 2019, 8 January 2020, 27 January 2020, 2 February 2020, 4 February 2020 and 25 February 2020.  Resource Efficient Solutions have been made aware of these breaches of permit conditions.

2. A site inspection was undertaken on 13 January 2019. Issues raised following the inspection included:

  • Landfill gas escaping from the edge of the capping material on the east side and the south side.
  • A leak found in the capping of the east side of the newly capped area.
  • Insufficient cover material on the deposited wastes of the current active cell.

3. On 28 January 2020, SEPA officers served an Enforcement Notice on the operator of Lower Melville Wood Landfill. The notice requires improvement works to the capping and gas collection system to prevent the escape of landfill gas. The deadline for completion of the works is 9 March 2020.

4. A further site inspection was undertaken on the 14 February 2020. A faint odour of landfill gas was noted in the north-east corner of the site. An odour assessment carried out before the inspection did not identify any offensive odours. During the inspection, it was noted that the lining on the south flank had been damaged by the recent windy weather (Storm Ciara). It is likely that this area of plastic sheeting will have to be removed and a new area of liner welded to the southern flank.

5. Following the report of several complaints from members of the public on the late evening of Friday the 28th of February, an odour assessment was conduct on the morning of Saturday the 29th of February by SEPA. No offensive odour was detected on the Saturday morning. Weather conditions on the Friday night are likely to have played a significant role in the detection of landfill odour due to low pressure and the presence of freezing fog on Friday night.

Letham CC Comment – “In the meantime please continue to report any smells on tel:01592 776910. Or these channels