DROPPINGWELL tip is a timebomb, protesters claimed as work began to reopen the dumping ground after a quarter of a century.
Staff and machinery from Grange Landfill arrived last Wednesday as campaigners gathered at the gates to show their opposition.
The land, at Kimberworth, was closed as a tip after a public inquiry in the early 90s and left to nature.
But the Environment Agency granted permission in 2016 for 205,000 tonnes a year of inert waste to be dumped there.
“This thing is a timebomb,” said Droppingwell Action Group chairman Steve McKenna, after the demonstration this week. “It’s already been capped for people’s safety and put to bed.”
Campaigners fear the new tip will disturb what was previously dumped on the land from the 1940s onwards.
Steve said: “Given that we only had one-and-a-half days’ notice, it was a very reasonable turnout this week. People came and went as their jobs dictated and I think there were more than 100 overall.
“It’s important to people because it was closed after a public inquiry. It was capped for the protection of the local residents.
“Previously, it was a dumping ground for all sorts of evils from the coal and steel works, including cyanide and blue asbestos.
“The Environment Agency are not bothered about health and safety. Our hope is that they will come to their senses and eventually listen to the concerns about health issues.”
An EA newsletter, issued last Monday, told residents that preparation work was about to begin, including adding haulage roads around the site office and compound.
It added: “Further works to engineer a surface water system and impermeable clay barrier, to protect groundwater, will follow.”
No waste disposal activities can take place until EA officers are satisfied that the infrastructure has reached relevant standards, it said.
The EA has faced criticism for granting the permit to Grange Landfill without any consultation with the public or council.
Ward councillor Maggi Clark said: “It is deeply disappointing that the Environmental Agency has allowed it to progress this far, when there are still many outstanding concerns.”