The Gower Tip- Further thoughts and unanswered questions.


In this post I wanted to look and delve more closely into Sandwell council’s “regulation” of this site whilst it was still being used to deposit waste and subsequently after waste had ceased to be delivered to the site.

A reminder of the key dates concerning this site, as held and publicly published by The Environment Agency is shown below.

The original licence SL32 was passed by The West Midlands County Council on 4/6/1978.

There is a curious and so far unexplained “modification” of this licence which is referred to which occurred on 7th August 1979. I have not been able to find out what this is, or how it impacted on the licence, and Sandwell council did not supply it with the FOI request which is rather strange.

West Midlands County Council were dissolved in 1986, with responsibility then being taken on by local authorities.

The first modification made under Sandwell council control is undated, and also unsigned, which is also highly unusual, unless that is, it was supplied with a deliberately redacted document.

No name or date.

This changed the boundaries of the site as follows, which also means that waste outside of this boundary, tipped before licensing, and after licensing could contain toxic waste outside of this current boundary- i.e the site that Solvay claim to be remediating. This means that there has been no assessment, at least by them of surrounding land since this licence was supposedly surrendered.

The council claimed that the original plan was not held, but here it is for comparison.

As appearing on planning application DC/5064

The original boundary to the sports field is shown, and also reference to the new A&W concrete boundary fence.

The second modification does not even refer to this amendment, which is also bizarre, as though the council had forgotten or deliberately avoided even mentioning the realigned boundary with their own land!

This was passed on 25th January 1990, and added three licence conditions to the licence 37-39. In context, the last supposed deposit of waste according to the EA, (and under SMBC regulatory control) occurred after this on 31/3/1990, (see above table).

Condition 36 imposed landfill gas monitoring within three months of the issue date.

Of course, tipping apparently ceased on the site within this timeframe. 

Condition 37 appears to be entirely dependent on the results of condition 36, and it is highly questionable therefore if these were even supplied to SMBC, who claim they don’t hold any, which is either bullshit, or the idiot who amended this licence did not bank on Albright and Wilson ceasing to tip at the site.

Condition 38 appears to cover such a scenario, calling on ceasing of waste tipping if no design for monitoring had been given within six months. Albright and Wilson however appear to have bypassed this by stopping tipping anyway, so was any monitoring scheme for landfill gas ever conducted by them at the site? If so , why do SMBC claim to not have any info on the scheme which they imposed?

Landfill gas and types of gases were not identified very well in this modification, and should have mentioned hydrogen sulphide, as well as phosphine. Were these ever monitored for, as it seems unlikely?

A further condition 40 was added on 29/11/91 for the 1st December 1991, and was the standard hazardous waste board, which appears to have been rolled out across all the current hazardous waste area sites and required the licence number.

Some three years later on 19/4/94, the licence was apparently surrendered, but no  surrender notice appears to exist according to SMBC, which is also bullshit. 

Sandwell council clearly have some questions to answer about the circumstances of monitoring for landfill gas from this site, and why they do not claim to hold any records, when it was their legal duty to do so?


I don’t believe the creation of these pools has anything to do with collecting surface water.

The waste dumping history of Albright and Wilson reveals that they used this site allegedly from 1938 , and as we know Rattlechain “since 1942”.

The other known canal side site at The Netherton Branch  appears to have been used around the start of the 1920’s, which means that there is another site somewhere between the wars that this company were using for phosphorus contaminated waste.

Though no phosphorus wastes were allowed after licensing, we simply do not know if any went into the Gower Tip at any point, and the fact that the site appears to have been in the footprint of a flooded former marl hole, strengthens the prospect that it was used for this purpose.

The pool is within the Gower Tip area in 1946.

There is an account in the book “Making and Moving in Langley” recalling waste being dredged from collection of the Albright and Wilson Canal arm, and into The G0wer Tip using “tubs” and then a pump.

This obviously raises questions as to what was buried when the water at this site disappeared, and when exactly this took place? “Attenuation ponds” would come in very handy converting phosphorus waste into breakdown products if exposed to air, particularly if the site was to be capped afterwards, thus highly likely to generate phosphine gas. There is reference to testing for phosphine gas at the site, but no explanation as to why this was being carried out given the supposed claimed wastes tipped there under the licence. They do not mention elemental phosphorus.

Maybe the effort to raise the site levels is what this “remediation” is really about. Just don’t try to hoodwink the public with nonsensical pointless schemes when the method implies something more insidious.

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The Gower Tip- burying the past wastes of Albright and Wilson with phoney “remediation”


Rhodia , except “Solvay Solutions UK Ltd are the applicants.

It appears that Solvay/Rhodia or whoever the entity in charge of this site like that at Rattlechain is intent on covering up the legacy of one of the worst environmental contaminators to ever come out of the UK- namely Albright and Wilson.

I had exposed the pre spin show bigging up an expected planning application, which for some unknown reason has arrived a month late. Several documents have now been uploaded to the SMBC planning portal, with site notices also posted under the following application.

DC/21/66208 | Proposed remediation works including re-profiling of site, installing cap above underlying waste material to uplift site by 1.4m, with new sub-surface cut off boundary wall along eastern boundary and landscaping. | Land Adjacent Former Sportsground (The Gower Tip) Lower City Road Tividale Oldbury

I will look at each of these in turn, including several reports which largely rehash the same claims , with some of them punctuated by false information and deliberate historic omissions, (particularly of certain chemicals deposited within the site), by Rhodia’s long standing “environmental consultants” ERM, who were behind the 2013 cover up works at Rattlechain.

It should be pointed out that this company was set up in 2004 by a former Environment Agency employee (land policy manager)  involved in creating EA policy on remediation and other matters,  which comes in rather handy when said regulator has consistently failed to monitor, sanction or improve mothballed historic waste sites like this since the mid 1990’s and then a private sector entity is paid handsomely for the privilege of “remediating” them many years later.

The thing about all of these people is their fetish for the acronym and what lies behind these. I would again point out that if this site is currently “safe” to local residents, particularly those living in the Summerton Road Development orchestrated by Morris Homes a few years ago, then why is there any need for “remediation” of a site that has been in this company’s ownership since the licence surrender nearly 30 years ago?

Firstly the application itself, from which we get few clues, and also a sectional drawing..



It should be noted in whose name this application is made, one Tom Dutton, sometimes “Dr” but not a medical one, a director of the phantom “Rhodia Limited” and health and safety manager during the days of Albright and Wilson themselves, and also in a high profile position when Rhodia were found guilty in court of the off site emission of phosphine gas from their Trinity Street plant. Rhodia of course attempted to lie about this fact with ludicrous semantics. I have a collection of his business cards to demonstrate his long term involvement with these linked companies, crucially when they were still actively depositing waste in The Gower Tip, a timeline that is falsified in the supporting documents for this application as I will prove with direct evidence. He is well aware of what went in there in the 1990’s at least.

Dutton as a health and safety “professional”  openly told gross mistruths at meetings held at Trinity Street about the waste at Rattlechain lagoon, failed to tell me about risks within the site despite being invited into there, (so much for the Health and Safety at Work Act), and of course about the chemical which was later found to be systemically poisoning birds within a site that his company span as being “a safe haven for wildlife”.

He was also caught out when he inadvertently sent me a draft pre-prepared spin letter from Rhodia’s PR officer which attempted to claim that amounts of white phosphorus found within a dead goose found at Rattlechain were “small” , which was hastily rewritten after the APHA concluded that the goose HAD been poisoned by the amount of P4 found.

He also attempted to claim that there were “small amounts” of white phosphorus in the lake, a nonsense he had no doubt repeated by learning from his predecessor , the liar “Dr” Peter Bloore. This phrase was rubbished by actual amounts of weight that were held in site waste returns by the Environment Agency themselves, which I uncovered after putting in an FOI. 

In other words, in my opinion from bitter personal experience, you cannot openly trust anything that this man claims about history, current status or chemical nature of wastes within any site owned by Rhodia/Solvay and those formerly operated by the company that gave him a job in the chemical industry- Albright and Wilson .

Perhaps that’s where the paid “environmental consultants” like ERM come in, who also create deliberate omissions within their reports to better aid their clients objectives. They are of course informed by their paymasters, and can state this in any form of litigation that might arise in the future to relieve themselves, not that the EA bother to check, because , well, that’s their policy not to bother. 😉 Albright and Wilson did this with the Cremer and Warner report, with Bloore grossly lying to this independent consultancy acting on behalf of The Black Country Development Corporation with Rattlechain, at the same time as waste tipping at The Gower Tip was also ceasing. I would state that these two events were linked when their polluting collars were starting to be felt.

There is still no explanation as to why this work is necessary at this time, and after so long since the licence surrender in 1994! “Environmental sustainability” is one of those meaningless buzz phrases which means precisely nothing. For 27 years, why was it thought fine to leave it “unsustainable” by the same company, and the same man making the application? Why is the site not environmentally sustainable in the current condition? How is it going to be sustainable when the aim is to keep it fenced off as private land and a still former waste tip with hazardous contaminated chemicals buried there? 

They want to disturb the materials to put in a cap. Why do they need to do this and put residents under undue risk for little gain when the result will be a fence keeping them out? The cap is the crap way in which they and other companies deal with sites such as this. A cheap form of “remediation”, it ensures that they never have to deal with removing the waste off site- a risk created due to houses being built which never should have been without first proceeding with a remediation which never happened under Albright and Wilson and Rhodia- under Dutton’s direct involvement. 

The proposal to put nearly 1.5 metres of soil on top of that buried is a give away that they are concerned about what is beneath the soil and the risk it poses. “The impermeable barrier” is a curious one given the fact that they have stated that the tip was a former clay pit, which they have stated previously at rattlechain makes it “impermeable” anyway as a result of the marl. They are clearly aware that there is a risk to residents on this estate from this tip, but like as at rattlechain with the birds, do not want to elaborate.

The end use will be exactly the same as the current use making a nonsense of the “environmental sustainability” claim.

On the issue of the history of the site, this is where the first lie is told. The waste did not cease to be tipped in or around 1986, as they are well aware.

The Environment Agency have published a table of waste sites, which although very poor and erased of detail, do refute this bullshit directly.

Processed-historic-landfill-sites-1 (1)

They have also published guidance on how to interpret the acronyms and language used in the tables.

Historic-Landfill-Sites-Quarterly-Summary-Briefing (1)

Let’s look then at the information that the regulator has published in the public domain concerning The Gower Tip.

If you go down the list to number 9100 you will find The Gower Tip listed.

If you scroll across still following site 9100 you will find this.

This lists the site licence number (SL32) of which will be prominently referred to in this post, and was also renumbered 644/99 as shown and also LF0054.

Scroll right a little further, and you will find the following under The Gower Tip site 9100 info.

The vertical columns are defined in the EA guidance as

We can therefore see from this that the claim made by Dutton/ERM in this application is inaccurate about the dates of licence surrender, and also of the last claimed input of waste onto the site- by some four years!

This data indicates that the licence was granted on 4/6/1978, as confirmed in the site licence issued by West Midlands County Council which I have looked at HERE. The first input of waste into the site, under this licence was 31/12/1978 according to the info here. The last input of waste is shown as 31/3/1990. The licence surrender is shown as surrendered on 19/4/1994.

The definitive timeline table therefore is as follows.

Sandwell council also supplied me with the following data sheet for the site from Their contaminated land team in an EIR request about the site that they call LF0054.


The rather strange “landfill gas” monitoring statement here appears to suggest that no monitoring whatsoever was done at this site, or if it was, the authority which should have demanded it, even passing an amendment to the site licence do not hold any record of such. Whoever was in charge of SMBC and their landfill sites at this time has serious questions to answer as to why they allowed the licence to be surrendered- when they claim here that “details of remediation- none” is shown. I wonder if the council have been reminded of their total negligence with this site under the Environment Act concerning part 2 A, and this is just a latter day attempt to absolve themselves?

We can therefore see that SMBC appear to hold more accurate information than the useless environmental consultancy and health and safety director of the company concerned, which I find impossible to believe quite frankly. I do hope that the contaminated land team correct the misinformation supplied in the application, which I will be reminding them of, as well as the signed declaration of which they have supplied inaccurate information and facts concerning this site.


There are no less than 9 reports written by ERM, many of them containing the same misinformation as highlighted above about site history and waste contents dumped. It is also worth noting that they have all been altered according to the preface on each after “client comments”. We therefore see that Rhodia/Solvay/Dutton have editorial control of what ERM report.


Apparently, ERM are “in the business of sustainability”, as well as writing bullshit for industrial polluters.

From the start, the claim that waste tipping ceased in 1986 has been seen to be a lie, as was their claimed date of licence surrender, which occurred a year earlier. If they or their clients cannot even get this publicly available information correct, then why should anyone believe anything else in their reports?

The infilling of the site by BIP is new to me, but during the war and after it anything could have gone into here without record, which makes moving around anything on this site extremely dangerous. A further 40 years of tipping before a waste management licence came along is also troubling. ERM omit concerns about this “contentious site” as revealed in minutes of the WMCC pollution control meeting where the licence was discussed.

Four stages are proposed

1.Remodelling the site surface- this has already started with the bogus clearance of material away from houses in George Wood Avenue which I called out at the time when planning permission had not even been granted.

2. Yet another “cap” to hide the wastes and the disturbance of them

3 Addition of groundwater barrier nearest the houses

4 Tree planting.

The claim that significant excavations will be limited so as not to disturb the underlying waste materials is curious, as it appears to suggest that the authors know that they are harmful- why else would they be minimised? This then poses the question as to “if it ain’t broke, then why “fix it”- as a non-technical summary may describe. No real reason s given as to why this bogus operation is required, other than the company at the time of licence surrender had not appeared to conduct any remediation at all.

It appears that their actions will generate surface water on the site- and therefore a possibility of off site wastes leaving the site.

Local residents can expect these operations to take 9 months with the heavy lifting work of capping 6 months! There will be up to 30 HGV’s depositing material every day which will add extra traffic to an already extremely busy road structure. It does not say from where these vans will operate from, or from where the materials will come from or how they are to be screened. 

  • The first acronym is that of “CEMP” (see below) which roughly translates as B.O.L.L.O.C.K.S.
  • The claims about air quality and risk to residents are utter lies. This was the situation at rattlechain during the remediation works there, and there were several complaints about this at the time from local residents who bordered the site.


  • They omit any mention of asbestos being buried in the waste materials. They appear to suggest that odours will be released, and to implement mitigation.
  • Badgers setts have been identified at the site. It claims that they have “previously been discouraged” from using the site- so what exactly are they saying here- interference with these setts?
  • Noise impacts are expected close to the houses during the day- great if you are a night worker I’m sure.
  • One of the biggest concerns that I have about these works are the proposed run off of surface water into the River Tame, which is the same culvert via The Brades brook (a Severn Trent Water asset) from which a serious oil pollution affected wildlife in 2020 at Sheepwash Nature Reserve. We have recently seen magenta coloured water entering the Tame from this source, and reported it accordingly. The source has not as yet been identified, and we do not need any other more “invisible” chemical arisings entering from this Severn Trent owned asset.
  • They claim that studies concerning the nature of the wastes have been looked at since 1992, yet none of these appear to be in the public domain or included or even referenced in the ERM reports- why, what did they find, who were the authors, and what are they hiding from omission of information as reported at these times? How for example has the waste risk changed?
  • Their claims about no risk to offsite receptors is rather fanciful based on their omission of facts about the waste contaminants.
  • The montage of images of the view of the site do not appear to show much difference at all, and once again this raises questions as to what Solvay are really trying to achieve with this exercise?


This is the PR piece “CEMP” and is full of theoretical waffling shite- not least the statement from Solvay. The “Solvay way” does not appear to be very different to me to “The Rhodia Way”, and before that The Albright and Wilson way, which was to dump toxic shit into the environment and then deny responsibility for poisoning, human ill health and environmental damage- so long as you can get away with it.

“Solvay monitors that efficient HSE management systems are implemented at every industrial site”– yeah sure.

When they have lied  in the application about the chemicals in the site that were dumped there, there is little more to be said. 


This report looks at the surrounding landscapes and the claimed visual impact of these works. Quite a few pictures of views from different angles, but as such there is little value in this report.



A much rehashed set of information as contained in the other reports, with the same misinformation about historic accuracy. The historic picture shown in the report is very unclear, but the one below demonstrates that the marl pit, like rattlechain was significantly flooded- as shown in the top right of the picture- i.e The Birmingham Old Mainline and the Brades locks from where Alfred Matty boats delivered waste to this and also Rattlechain. The canal basins into the old  brickworks site are also shown.



At 3.2 we also get the obscene lie about what types of waste were deposited at the site, from 1978 of course, Albright and Wilson were required to set limits and keep records.

Compare this with the actual licence and the amounts allowed to be deposited during the life of the licence SL32 – i.e between 1978 and 1990

  • They omit phosphorus sesquisulphide-
  • They omit waste contaminated with asbestos
  • The statement of drums of malathion and tribultyl phosphate were never allowed under this licence, and I am not quite certain as to whether this plant had in fact shut down before this licence came into existence? This formed part of the notorious “Oldbury Smell”, a sulphurous stench which stank of Tom cat piss- so will this odour once again be released onto an unsuspecting public? Malathion is also a notorious organophosphate insecticide used in wildlife crime and is carcinogenic. It is also notable that it corrodes metal- which suggests that these long buried drums will have leaked significant quantities of material into the soil itself.
  • Tributyl phosphate was manufactured at Trinity Street under the name “Albrite TBPO4 and is a metal extractant. It is used for the refining of uranium from yellow cake and is used for solvent extraction of a variety of other metals from aqueous streams. It is also found in brake and hydraulic fluid.

The original licence discussion actually states that the risks of phosphorus pentasulphide ( a chemical weapons precursor)  and sesquisulphide at this site were the main reasons as to why it was contentious- BECAUSE THEY REACT BADLY WITH WATER. ERM/SOLVAY omit this ley information, and so do so because it suits them to downplay the potential risks associated with these substances being exposed to moisture.

From minutes of The West Midlands County Council Waste disposal and pollution control committee December 1977

“I Background

This site is a former clay marl hole which has been used as an industrial tip since 1938. The site has received large quantities of toxic and hazardous waste since this time. These are mostly comprised of various compounds of phosphorus together with some radio-active wastes, laboratory chemicals, solvents etc. The site represents the major disposal outlet for the Company’s waste phosphorus pentasulphide and phosphorus susquisulphide (sic).

These waste arisings are the main problem associated with this site since they are highly reactive especially with water. “

The pentasulphide reaction with water produces the toxic gas Hydrogen sulphide as well as phosphoric acid.

P4S10 + 16 H2O → 4 H3PO4 + 10 H2S

  • They also of course omit any mention of the “radioactive wastes” mentioned in this report or any up to date information about what these were or if they remain on site. I asked questions of both the EA and Sandwell council about this, with a very poor and uninformative response. There is not much environmental protection going on at either authority. 
  • At There is the admission of asbestos being found near to the surface, along with metallic drums- as was found in 1990 when the fire brigade did not know anything about the site! They of course do not admit that their clients actually dumped these themselves, and given that liars from Albright and Wilson lied to their staff about the dangers of asbestos, one can only imagine that this was the graveyard for their waste, with those dumping it directly exposed to the chemical!
  • The River Tame is identified as 500m North of the site. I have reported numerous incidents of pollution along this watercourse and from the direction where this site feeds into the Brades Brook. Tracking visible pollution is difficult enough without adding surface water contaminants such as those at this site.
  • They have not conducted a screening exercise on soils, though note that heavy metals, cyanide compounds (which were found to be dumped illegally as this post shows), VOCS and Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons. the levels at location Trial Pit 101 of cyanide appear to be particularly high! The lack of what they consider to be viable pathways to receptors is a good way of not revealing what was actually found and buried on the site.
  • the conceptual site model that these consultants use is nonsense.
  • It is noted that hydrogen sulphide is found in groundwater samples taken, with 5 out of 20 elevated, which confirms the likely source to be from the pentasulphide  drums, though they do not state this.
  • There are some notable circles within the site which have not been recorded as having any borehole coverage- see page 39 for example and you will see this. Have these areas been deliberately avoided because of the previous investigations shown things that would not be helpful to “The Solvay Way” or this application?
  • The idea that there is “no risk to local residents from proposed controls” is again worrying given this chemical company history in failing to do just that. Where is the assessment for radioactive contamination?
  • At 4.3.4 we are told “Given the historical use of the site (i.e a waste disposal site), and the findings of previous site investigations, a range of contamination is known to be present. ” We are not informed of these previous site investigations and what was found.
  • Please do read the end of this document if you can bear to as it considers the effects on human health. What you will see from this is the way in which these consultants operate in talking pages of waffle , of modelling software, algorithms and more acronyms, before finally stating that there may be uncertainty with any assessments. I would imagine that anyone suffering from asthma in these less than 10 year old properties will be at increased risk of exposure from this site when the contractors start work than they are now. I cannot even see any assessments that they make from the results about human health and exposure to the measured concentrations and tolerable levels. They do not give the tolerable levels, so one cannot make an informed judgement as to the levels that were detected.



See the source imageWith the prospect of the infamous “Oldbury Smell” being unearthed via rotting buried barrels, one could expect this pussy Pazuzu to expectorate projectile vomit onto an unsuspecting Bullah Way. You will need more than Max Von Sydow to get rid if this is the case, and I do not think the ERM guys are up to the task!

“Given the nature of materials historically deposited at the site, ground disturbance activities have the potential to adversely impact on the health or represent a nuisance to nearby sensitive receptors.” 

See the source image

We are introduced to that scientific term “the sniff test”- yes I suppose it depends on how hard you scratch, because this really is quite ludicrous. Monitoring of a few locations appears to have taken lace in the early part of the year, and not during the summer months when odours would be more prevalent, and dusts emitted more likely.

To try to subjectively assess such matters using equations is utter drivel and obviously to some people, they would be able to sniff out some odours more than others. I myself can sniff out bullshit in reports such as this.

What is clear is that this report mentions a “sulphurous odour” being detected on the Eastern side where they intend creating a pond. This is of course immediately adjacent to properties in George Wood Avenue.

They claim that mitigation will be needed to manage the effects to residents in this area during operations, but their plans are as bare as their ability to sniff out the source of the stench.

If I were a resident of George Wood Avenue, I would seriously consider buying a gas mask, as the stench in Summer with your windows open will become unbearable, and for what- for this joke remediation scheme?


This has been wrongly titled by SMBC and is actually a report on dust and particulate matter and construction impact assessment.

The report sets out derived air quality assessments but does not explain what “PM10” or PM2.5 are. These are particles of less than 10 micrometres in diameter , or in the case of PM2.5, 2.5 micrometres in diameter, and can consist of a range of toxic substances, such as the ones found at this site. More info HERE. 

The advice according to The Government website states

“The Air Quality Standards Regulations 2010 require that concentrations of PM in the UK must not exceed:

  • An annual average of 40 µg/m3 for PM10;
  • A 24-hour average of 50 µg/m3 more than 35 times in a single year for PM10;
  • An annual average of 25 µg/m3 for PM2.5.”

The ERM study does not look at PM2.5 particles or their health impacts, and is a convenient omission. 

Monitoring of the site was carried out in moist conditions and with vegetation still on site which will be removed. Any readings taken therefore are utterly useless as an indicator for emissions potential from this site during excavation works.

They do not mention asbestos, and this appears to be very convenient for their clients, and they do not mention the “radioactive wastes” that were deposited in the waste stream before licensing either, or give a risk assessment as to how these will be detected or avoided during construction works.



This report looks at volatile organic compounds, particularly concerning the proposed excavations to create 2 “detention ponds”.

Once again, the consultants speak in tongues about risk by firstly setting the criteria that they consider to be a risk. A statement such as this at 4.2.

“potential….release…off site migration of volatile substances…. medium risk.”

These two detention pools are put forward as a focus to distract attention away from other parts of the site. There is currently no water feature on this site, and the creation of two is more likely to produce breakdown of drums containing pentasulphide and sequisulphide and produce hydrogen sulphide associated with their presence.

How on site workers will be protected should best be looked at at the way in which Albright and Wilson were found guilty under The Health and Safety at Work Act for their “remediation” at Portishead.

Why should local residents be put at increased admitted risk from works that are not required to protect their health,(according to ERM and Solvay)? Why should it be left to chance of one or two people making decisions at the site on any given day?

The problem with the trial pitting carried out in the areas stated is that it appears that only four samples were taken and analysed, and there is no mention as to the depth that these were taken from or how much  contained any moisture. There are issues of accreditation on many tests with the laboratory used who received samples from the site 4 days after collection. The laboratory offer no insight into any of the results, and this is therefore left to ERM who cobble together their own derived conclusions.



This report states “A badger exclusion was completed under licence in July 2017 , after which the site was fenced and all excluded setts were destroyed and backfilled” 

There is no mention as to the method of “exclusion”, is this a code for killing them?

This report confirms that badgers have returned to the site, with a new active sett. This gives this company a major problem concerning the works and their proposed early 2022 timescale as the ERM report states that licences to remove setts are only granted by Natural England between 1st July and November 30th. The date mentioned on the SMBC website for determination deadline is Friday 21st January  2022. The timeclock for Solvay for this application being decided is therefore ticking like an AW bomb,…..

There is a similar issue with the breeding bird season, with the chainsaw Charlies having to be active before this, if the application was approved.


The job title “acoustic consultant” is certainly a new one on me.  😛

This is another rather pointless tick box exercise is measuring existing noises around the site, in what is a mixed use of new residential properties (which should never have been built), and industrial units. There are many technical terms in this report of which I do not profess to understand or even care about, and it is one for the nerds only.

The point of all this of course is to claim that the proposed works lasting 9 months will have limited impact on the residential occupiers, but I’m sure that the extra noise of HGV deliveries and the banging of flaps when the trucks are emptied, WILL be notable to local residents, as they were to those at Rattlechain, when they were on site doing the same thing there.

So that is it folks. You have until 17th November to object to this crap by visiting the Sandwell council planning portal and searching for DC/21/66208 . I certainly will be, and it will only need two more objections to put this bullshit under the scrutiny that it deserves without it being “delegated” to an officer of the council who knows nothing about the history of the site or its contents, and is reliant on the misinformation supplied by the applicants and their environmental consultants.  


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Albright’s toxic archives#34 Polluters’ pals in the commons

Only this week we have seen the stench of corruption engulf politics and one who was caught out lobbying for two companies in a paid role standing down, not after admitting any wrong doing, but after the public outrage that his mates were attempting to change the rules to save him, a system that they had created to supposedly “independently” scrutinise conduct within the house.

But being in the pay of companies is not a new thing with this lot, as this timely post demonstrates. Indeed, could there be a more toxic union of that involving a well known chemical industry polluter, and the politicians of Westminster; that corruption filled stench of a place in London?

I have already highlighted how this failing company courted the political class and had amongst their workforce political “friends” in high places, even with the disgusting freak Quaker families who gave the phosphorus contaminators their name. John Wilson rubbed shoulders in the commons in the early 20th Century, but this would not be the last boy that they had in a place of prominence. Even Arthur Albright attempted to get a seat in this rat den of vile individuals , but thankfully failed, which I will look at in another post.

This post deals with two Parliamentarians , a Tory and a Labour man who were both on the Albright and Wilson payroll in the late 1980’s/90’s. You could say that this company were covering their backs by having both parties on board, at a time when their empire was coming to an end.

The Daily Mirror of 20th July 1989 exposed Jack Cunningham (Labour) and Alan Haselhurst (Conservative) as both being in a paid role outside of their own political theatre for the Oldbury based polluter.

The excellent piece by Paul Foot shows what hypocrisy these two showed in being showered with doe by one of the worst polluters in the country.

It references another toxic archive that I have looked at HERE, concerning how the terrorists of Albright And Wilson had been found guilty of allowing radioactive dusts to get into the environment at their disastrous Portishead “clean up” decommissioning operation. “This caused untold, perhaps possibly lethal damage to the company’s own workers” 

Foot also correctly stated that the reward for shareholders of this vile polluter was paid out two years earlier to their American owner- thus they were profiteering out of this company causing physical damage to their own staff. If you look back however at the very long list I have evidenced on this website about Albright’s toxic archives, including that at Rattlechain lagoon, as well as the delivery of waste to the site, you can see that they were never a responsible operator to start with, and directly lied to their staff about risks, as well as the public.

The piece mentions a direct quote from the Tory representing Saffon Walden- a market town in Essex, with no obvious connection to any Albright and Wilson establishment in its area.

He stated in a debate concerning  Motor Vehicles (Air Pollution) a year earlier that “there is a growing need to protect the environment”.

Here is the direct link to his contribution which also revealed that he was an advisor to Johnson Matthey PLC- another speciality chemicals provider in the automotive industry, who had  a very dodgy subsidiary Johnson Matthey Bankers . Bailing out these (w)ankers appears to be a very Conservative tradition.

But what was Haselhurst actually doing for Albright and Wilson? We find out a little more some 7 years later in  the Saffron Walden Weekly News of 16th May 1996. 

Here he bemoans that he was not “spying” for the company in terms of their industrial rivals, as A Sunday Times article had appeared to suggest. His tally of advice has now also grown to National Power. His advice according to him involved giving the companies a heads up on any legislation, which would in reality be legislation that would cost them more and disadvantage them. At what point he may then have acted on their behalf in order to water down said legislation is open to debate. “Explaining Parliamentary procedure” may also have involved him setting up cosy little meetings between executives and prominent legislators.

You can see why people rightly called this out and he appears to have done no favours to himself in the process.

Hazelhurst would later be embroiled in the MP expenses debacle where The Daily Telegraph exposed how he ran up a £12,000 gardening bill care of the thicko taxpayers. Let’s hope he wasn’t using industrial quantities of Monsanto’s Round up- that cancer causing product that Albright and Wilson made a key ingredient for.

MPs’ expenses: Alan Haselhurst’s £12,000 gardening bill (

As for Cunningham, I have already highlighted articles in the abhorrent Albright World newspaper , which as I have pointed out before set out to dupe and lie to their staff about many issues including exposure to chemicals made and used at the company.

“He told them that Dr Cunningham, who was his Parliamentary Private Secretary during Mr Callaghan’s government, was “constantly preaching about A+W’s virtues and is a very good advertisement for you”  🙁 

These were earlier in his career, but the articles below run chronologically after the Daily Mirror piece.

The first comes from The Newcastle Journal, and is dated 3rd October 1989.

Cunningham was Labour’s shadow environment secretary. You could ask what fucking hypocrite of an MP would want to have links to one of the worst polluters in Britain- well  over to the MP for Copeland. It again highlights the issues at Portishead, though not the many disasters at Oldbury, as well as activities in his own back yard at Whitehaven, which would have dire consequences for them as we shall see. Cunningham also served for the Sellafield plant in his constituency and was an advisor for British Nuclear Fuels.

The pollution of The Irish Sea issues would be taken up sensationally by Greenpeace who led campaigns to highlight the abysmal Albright and Wilson pollution from Whitehaven. This rocked the company , and their pathetic lamentations and denials at the time cannot have looked very good on an MP who was “advising” them.

The second article again puts Cunningham under pressure and the same newspaper of 10th October 1991 again exposes his links to environmental savages. Greenpeace were clearly putting pressure on this AW agent . Labour voters themselves were not happy with his links to the phosphorus making scumbags and were making that known in internal polling. The guile of the man however claims that his personal efforts had reduced discharge limits due to his “advice”. Oh yeah, what a pile of shite! Did he suggest any ways of stopping birds being poisoned at a certain lagoon in Oldbury where the company in question were depositing toxic waste?

Unfortunately, his seat did not come under threat and his work for this company would end at least officially when Labour won the general election of 1996 and he became Environment Secretary. Both men now sit in the House of Lords after being awarded peerages.

Clearly we can see how dirty polluting businesses get on in life, they just need a little help from their friends in high places. 


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White phosphorus misadventures #9 Phosphorus Jack



A curious tale from down under concerning an Antipodean ignis fatuus in human form.

It appears that in Christchuch, New Zealand something strange was stalking the lands in the Australasian Winter of 1905, as revealed in two articles from The Lyttelton Times. 

The first from 31st July names the phenomenon as “Phosphorus Jack” and reports on several sightings of the phantom of the night. The first sighting was by a young girl who disturbed a masked intruder wearing a coat laced with phosphorus.

Another sighting saw a woman spooked by the same phosphorus flasher villain with the words “are you prepared to die” written in phosphorus in the coat. The police were involved in the reports but dismissed them as imagination.


But the sightings persisted into October of that year and the 7th day of that month revealed that more disturbing visitations had been made.

So were these sightings real, or just the hallucinations of a bunch of ugly face pulling fat tongue wagglers on the grog?  We will never know, but I think that the phenom may be still out there somewhere.

Of course, Rattlechain lagoon has its very own phosphorus jack, or Willy Peter as he prefers to call himself. If the tramp is disturbed, he will get very agitated and spontaneously combust. I feel a John Houseman story narration coming on.



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The Sheepwash story – Rewilding metamorphosis-From industry to nature

This post features on The Friends of Sheepwash Nature Reserve site, and is an example of how industrial areas can be remodelled for nature instead of creating yet more unsustainable housing on old tips. A much preferable option to those being touted in the so called “Black country plan” on land adjoining Rattlechain lagoon.

We are indebted to Tipton Historian Keith Hodgkins for a set of photos which he allowed us to use on this website. Keith is well known for his books on Tipton in collaboration with John Brimble, and the background to his story and interests in the area can be read HERE.

The following article sets the scene and was written by Keith in the magazine Black Country Connections. It gives a summary history of Sheepwash, and the changes that have taken place over the last 100 years, and even before that.

Black Country Connections article by Keith Hodgkins AUG-SEPT 2018

We have also traced more photos and documentation dealing with the site and set this out in chronological order. What this shows is that industrial landscapes blighted by former use CAN be transformed into something more positive, rather than the other way around.

The following picture is taken from the book Conurbation, a planning survey of Birmingham from 1948 and was taken as part of a train journey from Birmingham to Wolverhampton.  We can see from this the flooded and fairly desolate area in front of the Pumphouse Brickworks and the engine house on the right of the picture. The stacks in the distance to the left are The Canal Brickworks.

Crown Copyright 1948

Also recorded here is what appears to be the creation of The Denbigh Estate off The John’s Lane Farm. The fieldhouse building is to the right of the picture in John’s Lane.

Crown Copyright 1948

The picture below shows a different angle of the site.

Taken 8/4/1954 © Keith Hodgkins

With the demise of brickmaking, the area became flooded with the cessation of pumping in the main pumphouse pit. West Bromwich Council bought the land in the 1960’s for use as a tip, which was largely unsanctioned building and industrial waste by contractors and the council itself.

Picture Chris Adams showing the flooded marlhole. The swan village gas holder is shown in the distance.

The following is taken from  “A part of nature The greening of derelict industrial land- rehabilitation policies in Britain and Germany”  Anglo-German Foundation. 

“With reorganisation of local government in 1974, the newly formed WMCC became the waste disposal authority. Ownership of most of the site was transferred to the WMCC, which continued tipping operations until 1978. At that stage, the pumphouse pool was approximately 5 ha in area, with steep sided banks made entirely of domestic refuse. Below water level, the banks shelved away steeply to depths greater than 12 m. Water quality was poor as a result of leachate from the refuse. Waste deposits covered the site to a maximum depth of 20m, and comprised a mixture of degradable waste (domestic refuse, parks waste, slaughter house waste and building waste and contaminated waste chemicals, drums of toxic materials, oils and tars etc.). Of the estimated 1.5-2 million m³ of domestic waste, at least 500,000 m³ were biodegradable and capable of producing landfill gas.”

Site investigations in 1979 concluded that the site was unsuitable for residential or industrial development due to the dereliction and site contamination, whilst issues with the River Tame demanded flood prevention schemes being required.

A series of planning applications reveal the timescale of these improvement works. Unfortunately at present, the detail surrounding these is not available due to council restrictions on access.

DD/12405 | Reclamation of derelict land by the tipping of building waste & other materials. | Derelict land at Sheepwash Lane Tipton.

This application dates from September 1980. No decision notice is shown on the council website, which was rather odd. I put in a freedom of information request to SMBC in this regard asking for this, which can be read HERE. 

The council stated “With regard to DD/12405 this application
was not determined as the proposed reclamation scheme was superseded by
the submission and subsequent grant of permission for ref: DD/15197.”

DD/15197 The reclamation of derelict land & the construction of balancing lakes including the infilling of the existing pool with inert materials to reduce water depth from 10 to 3 metres. The whole area is to be contoured and landscaped. Land off Sheepwash Lane Great Bridge, Tipton.

This was decided on 20th October 1982 with no conditions, (as confirmed by SMBC in the FOI request), which is again rather odd given the scope of the work involved. I would like to know what the “inert materials” actually were. This decision notice can be read HERE. 

This application generated a waste management site licence. SL434 . I again put in an FOI to SMBC concerning this and the map of the area which they responded to. 

“The plan shows the landfill boundary superimposed over present day mapping
(accurate to the date of issue) and hence should provide the requested


The supplied waste management licence shows that it was issued on 30th September 1983 by The West Midlands County Council . This had two schedules. Schedule A had 38 conditions, with Schedule B which contained 3 general clarification points about waste types and procedures. 

In schedule A there are mentions of plans, maps and a supplementary information document, (not supplied with the request and which the council claim not to hold which I am somewhat dubious about given that they made the application!).


A modification adding another condition 39 was made on 24th November 1983 which appears to relate to tipping and health and safety conditions in relation to the overhead powerlines. This would appear to have been an oversight on the part of the original licence and the difficult unmoveable objects that unfortunately had been erected many years before. Perhaps we can speculate that there may have been some near misses with works taking place, and the County Council wanted to make sure they were not liable for any serious accidents or deaths?

Before these applications we can get a good view of what Sheepwash was like from The Rose Lane area as witnessed in photographs taken by Keith on  24/3/1983. NB this was 6 months before the waste management licence was approved.

© Keith Hodgkins

At this stage the River Tame ran differently, as shown in the diagram below. As part of the transformation this was redesigned for flood alleviation purposes, and you can see why.

© Keith Hodgkins

Horses are grazed and a ramshackle stables appears on part of what is now the Rose Lane meadow. The River would now be to the left of where it is shown here. The pylon VT25 in what is now the Rose Lane Pylon pool would be rebuilt in a slightly different position in the 2010’s.       .

© Keith Hodgkins

I am reliably informed that this bridge across the river had holes in it and was in very poor condition. This bridge area I believe would equate to where the path from Elizabeth Road leads down to now.

© Keith Hodgkins

The Pumphouse pool as it was, crossed by overhead powerlines and the angle tower VT24. Behind this are the Ocker Hill power station towers which were demolished in the 1980’s. Keith took a spectacular close up view of these before they were taken down which is shown in his living memory page. What we can see from this is that there are no islands and the area is very wild.

© Keith Hodgkins

A striking image and contrast of two structures with the River Tame dividing them. On the left, the angle tower VT24 which is still there of course in what is now The John’s Lane meadow. On the right are the remains of the engine house from the pumphouse brickworks seen in the earlier picture. Another image of this structure can be seen HERE. A similar structure at Bumble Hole/Warrens Hall Nature Reserve was retained there. I remember this structure vaguely from this time, but it was demolished with the works. Perhaps this was an opportunity missed to preserve Sheepwash’s industrial past?

Newspaper articles promoting the new wildlife site began to emerge, as well as a council leaflet. 

Published: Friday 31 October 1986 Newspaper: Sandwell Evening Mail


Published: Friday 16 December 1988 Newspaper: Sandwell Evening Mail

The early 1980’s landscaped pools and islands.


The Anne Close entrance with Newtown School on the left. Children from the school would plant trees around the border of the site.

An early sign near to Anne Close.

Further works would commence with the creation of The Black Country Development Corporation who would use the site as a PR marketing tool for themselves with their frankly disastrous environmental blight activities across the area such as the Black Country Route. Sheepwash won a Royal Town planning award for the creation of the urban park.

Pumphouse pool before landscaping


Pumphouse pool After landscaping

BCS0468 | Derelict land reclamation as part of the development of Sheepwash urban park. | Land rear of Triplex Foundry Sheepwash Lane Great Bridge.

The decision notice for this Northern part of the site can be viewed below.

BCS0468-BCS468-73716 (1)

The allotments area was also re-landscaped. It does appear that this phase of the project ran out of ideas or money as this area is certainly the most vacant area of the site.

With the pumphouse pool being transformed and shallowed, we can see that a haul road was used from what is now termed “the spit” area by bird watchers on the site. It appears that the central islands were created as part of this process. This picture must date from the early 1980’s.

The following aerial panorama was taken as a picture and is held at Sandwell park Farm. I was gratefully sent this by the senior countryside ranger for use on this website. I have scanned the pictures individually to remake the one photo. Although small to see, if you click on each in turn, you can make out much more detail. Of course , the lack of tree cover is the most notable feature of the newly created layout, and it reminds me of a sculpted cake decorated with blue icing and island green  “cherries”. I would estimate that this picture was taken in the mid to late 1980’s. The old brickworks engine house is gone, and in its place “the pumphouse” where the lake levels could be controlled. This in itself would be demolished with a fenced off open structure put in its place in the 2010’s by The Environment Agency.

The creation of the site on an old tip would not be without its problems due to methane gas being present, as this article from 1990 attests. There would be methane drains built around the perimeter of the site and monitoring of levels. On 21/4/1990 a further modification was made to the SL434 site licence as supplied by Sandwell Council in the FOI request, but this doesn’t make sense at present as conditions 33-36 concerning landfill gas do not appear to correlate with that licence? This is part of why such sites could not be built on to form houses, and it is a problem in other areas around this site.

Published: Wednesday 12 September 1990 Newspaper: Sandwell Evening Mail

Keith Hodgkins returned to the site and took this picture, which dates from 1991. This shows that the islands on both pools have taken shape and swans can be seen on the middle island on John’s Lane pool. Tree cover is still sparse but starting to grow. Thirty years later the site is unrecognisable from the industrial legacy that once had its footprint there as the only Local Nature Reserve in Tipton. .

© Keith Hodgkins

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Save nature, reject development.



There is just a week left to oppose plans to build yet more houses on an unsuitable “crap site for residential” located on a former unsanctioned waste dump off Temple Way. This site has recovered and greened, and that is the overwhelming response that local residents want it to stay.

Please fill out the form below.

bcp-comments-form-v2-1-writeable (2)

State that you OBJECT  to housing allocations SAH088 AND SAH098 as unsustainable and undeliverable. 

It would also be helpful if you complete another of these forms in SUPPORT of The Black Country Local Nature Recovery Opportunity Map (draft April 2021), which is right at the end of the oppressive document plan. We can therefore see here how the planners and local elected regard such schemes in their developer’s charter. You will note that part of this area is one covering the joke housing allocations , which puts it directly at odds with this. 

 Email the completed form to

or you can print this form off and complete it, then post it to Black Country Plan, Planning & Regeneration, Council House, Priory Road, Dudley DY1 1HF, or leave at your local library.

This consultation ends at 5pm on Monday 11th October 2021. 

Please also consider emailing the local Oldbury councillors who represent this area and ask for their support in opposing these allocations.

These are

  • Mushtaq Hussain (Labour)
  • Suzanne Hartwell (Labour)
  • Rizwan Jalil (Labour)

Also email the MP for this area

  • Shaun Bailey (Conservative)

The easiest way to do this is via THIS LINK, just enter your postcode.

They need to stand up for existing residents and for keeping this space green.

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Objecting to The Black Country Plan




The trouble with bad plans is that some idiots just keep regurgitating them every few years in the hope that no one will notice.  🙄 

Who has the time or patience to read all of this at their local library, if it is even open?

Let’s get straight to it, “The Black Country Plan” is SHIT! Why? Because it along with all the others that preceeded it and will succeed it are based on what I term “The political-construction industry complex”. This is similar to the military-industrial complex whereby the military of a country forms a symbiotic relationship with the defence industry that supplies it for mutual benefit. Policy is therefore developed to accomplish this mutual benefit. 

Indeed it is this “political-construction industry complex” that is the reason for perceived corruption between the political class and property developers, and terms such as “developer’s charter” being accurately used. Many politicians own multiple properties or are involved in the construction industry, housing associations or are private landlords. Their friends, relations and cronies are of course another matter, and that is before you get on to transport infrastructure and the likes of H$2. It is no surprise therefore to find party political donors are also in the construction and property development game, and cheap public authority land sales have been notoriously observed in this part of the world to said agents. 

The Government’s white paper on planning reform was another step on this crooked ladder.  In The Black Country, we should not be regarded as a “growth area” for housing developers to continue to prosper. Sandwell is swamped with housing and inhabited areas already.

Sandwell is the most densely populated black country borough with 36 people per hectare compared with the West Midlands and national average of just 4.

Statistical facts from 2011 census

There has been widespread condemnation about the manner in which this oppressive “plan” has been written and presented by Dudley Council, acting on behalf of the 4 local authorities, and that criticism is entirely justified, as it does not seek to gather the views of real local people. 

The site allocations in this document are the only matter that most are interested in, and not the dogmatic policy waffle which fills out this report. A simpler comment on the call for sites and site allocations should have been promoted, and this would have generated more responses. As it is, it is quite apparent that the majority of responses that will be received will be from green belt land bankers and their stooges, promoted by certain politicians who have already made themselves known with their “save the green belt” campaigns. Meanwhile, the urban areas are targeted by developers, and this green space is usurped as “brownfield” , yet it has the same potential for wildlife rehabilitation as any “greenbelt” land through the process of rewilding.

The principle thrust of my objection to this plan are the unsustainable housing allocations centred in the Lower Tividale area, (I have already mentioned those next to The Gower tip),  and in particular on an area of green space linked to Sheepwash Nature Reserve which is part of the wider canal corridor. Together, this adds up to 607 new homes in an area less than a mile square, on an already saturated housing estate built on former agricultural land and then disgustingly, demolition waste tips.

It is also of course right next to Rattlechain lagoon itself. 

SAH088 proposes that 322 homes could be built on land including the former Duport’s Tip

SAH098 proposes a further 32 homes could be built on a strip of land lying along the river corridor off MacDonald Close.

I attended the site allocations delivery plan inquiry in 2011, from which this plan follows on from the so called “black country core strategy”,  and what is clear from this is that the inspector and Sandwell council were grossly misled by those promoting this site and their agents in that this piece of land would be deliverable within the  period of the plan- i.e by 2021- NOW. WELL WE CAN SEE WHAT A LOAD OF BOLLOCKS THAT WAS CAN’T WE!  😛 

In that scheme, around 257 houses were provided, and now 322 are proposed in the same area of land, as well as an even greedier idea to take up a wedge along the river as well to cram in another 32. Also note the statement about engaging with other land owners- ie Rhodia Solvay.

I drew out Rhodia at the time following this enquiry ten years ago where it became clear that they were not intending to sell off the site to use as a convenient waste toilet for the over tipped foundry sand by the company that had tipped it there for their profit. They and their consultants did not believe it to be technically feasible, as the infamous Cremer and Warner report of 1991 also stated.

I have also previously outlined the so called “Dudley port Supplementary planning document” in 2017. Around 400 local residents and users of Sheepwash Nature Reserve signed a petition which was handed in to Sandwell Council at the time, but they stated that it would be more appropriate to be considered at the time when the allocations came up for review- which is of course now. I will therefore be resubmitting this petition with objections to the scheme. 

Thumbs down to “The Garden City”

“Masterplanning” is a trite overused local authority phrase which also spells out B-O-L-L-O-C-K-S. “Visions” and the plethora of adjectives to describe what life will be like in 10 years time are the other nonsense that is trotted out every ten years. It always reads the same, it never materialises therefore.

There is no way that the wastes on this site are compatible with filling in Rattlechain lagoon, and do realise that to remove such quantities of foundry sand off site will once again blacken homes, soil cars and windows and cause health issues of asthma. The “misery” of the ten year tipping operation that supposedly was to take two has been documented HERE.  We cannot and should not accept a return to this absolute fucking planning farce again. 


TIP ON YOUR HOMES. Gladstone Drive 1994. photo Robert Brook . This would go on for another 7 years!



The collators of this plan have not made it easy for you to respond, quite deliberately.

A form is available (is it) from local libraries and council offices if you can find them open. Of course it is also online, though wading through the pages is very difficult to navigate unless you have several days on your hands.

Download the PDF comment form below for explanation.

bcp-comments-form-v2-1-writeable (2)

State that you OBJECT  to housing allocations SAH088 AND SAH098 as unsustainable and undeliverable. 

It would also be helpful if you complete another of these forms in SUPPORT of The Black Country Local Nature Recovery Opportunity Map (draft April 2021), which is right at the end of the oppressive document plan. We can therefore see here how the planners and local elected regard such schemes in their developer’s charter. You will note that part of this area is one covering the joke housing allocations , which puts it directly at odds with this. 

 Email the completed form to  it to

or you can print this form off and complete it, then post it to Black Country Plan, Planning & Regeneration, Council House, Priory Road, Dudley DY1 1HF, or leave at your local library.

This consultation ends at 5pm on Monday 11th October 2021. 



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White phosphorus misadventures #8 Scouse fits


See the source image


A turn of the century phosphorus suicide was reported in the 13th January 1900 Liverpool Daily Post. 

A man had returned home to find his wife had been on the pop. Apparently it was a frequent occurrence, yet on this occasion, “blue flames” came out of her mouth. (Must have been an Everton fan).  😆

He made her sick using salt and cocoa, and found that a number of match heads had been “steeped in water”. Unfortunately, this would do little to effect the irreversible damage that had already been done.

These were obviously the highly dangerous lucifer matches which became banned for use due to them poisoning workers who made them. Post mortem observations saw effects on the liver and other organs consistent with P4 poisoning, and the jury returned a verdict of suicide.


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Zoiks, we have been here before…..  🙄

I had read in the phoenix entity “Rhodia limited” directors report document that they had intended to carry out remediation work on some of their sites in 2020, but had been foiled by “the pandemic”.

Solvay in the small print

With dodgy activities that had taken place on the Gower Tip in 2019, it was fairly evident to me that this was one of the sites that they were referring to.

A brief recap is in order here to explain “the next steps” at this site and how this relates to a bigger more insidious picture that this company and those at Sandwell Council are behind.

I had contacted SMBC on seeing significant ground works taking place on the site, and was told by Alsion Bishop of the planning department, (who I am informed has now left the authority) that

 “I was satisfied following a walk over the site that these works do not constitute commencement of restoration works but are merely to inform the planning application.  I am informed that the planning application will be submitted early next year following analysis of the test results and full design being prepared.”

Obviously the planning application was delayed, but the explanation was crap. A large amount of material nearest to homes in George Wood Avenue- named after a brick manufacturer, had been scrapped back. Some 5 metres according to admissions from Rhodia themselves

They had started this in 2014 when I noted it on this blog , when sinking boreholes, and compare the picture above with that which I took then to see the further movement of soil away from the houses. Of course, this gives the impression that the buried materials on the site are further away from the houses and residents, BEFORE any soil tests are carried out in the planning application and published. They had therefore ample time to do this , and such a process where they can do this is absolutely bent- but so was the granting of planning permission to build these homes to start with next to such a hazardous waste dump!


I had noticed that signs on the frontage to the Birmingham Canal had also been changed earlier in the year.

Except it’s “Solvay Solutions UK Limited ” really

SMBC were remiss in their monitoring of this site and the actual activities taking place on there, which as far as I am concerned put residents at risk when soils and dust were being carried around in the air and on the ground whatever Bishop or anyone else wants to think. 

But that is where the new planning application being proposed can be challenged, and where I for one will be objecting to it. 

I was sent the leaflet below by a local resident , and it appears that a website and newsletter were also set up , as they had been at Rattlechain when they knew that I was putting out the real truth and asking awkward questions about this Albright and Wilson hazardous waste dump. Let’s deconstruct this to show what their comms team are trying to do with the psychology of it.


This is the same bullshit phrase that they used for the 2013 cover up works at Rattlechain , which were really about compliance with legislation for site closure- AND NOTHING ELSE. 

I would urge local residents to read the history of the Gower Tip site, which is far more definitive than these liars or their consultants would like to tell you. Of most importance is the timeline of key legislative actions at this site. Crucially Sandwell council via the EA confirmed in an FOI request that the site licence was surrendered in 1994- This was still under the Albright and Wilson era, and before the EA were set up in 1996- and therefore Sandwell council were fully involved here. 

Rhodia took over the site from A/W brand in 2001. Solvay took over from Rhodia in 2011. 

  • The first question for “Rhodia”/Solvay spinners to answer is why do they need to carry out “improvement works” at this time, when there is no longer any site licence at the site, and no conditions on the site? Presumably, the regulators at the time- the useless West Midlands Hazardous waste unit run by Walsall council considered the state of the site satisfactory when they left it? But of course this was BEFORE any houses had been built right next to the border. 

Why did Albright and Wilson not consider “improvements” were needed at the site when surrendering the licence? Why did Rhodia for the next 10 years not consider that “improvement works” were needed at this site? Why has it taken Solvay Solutions UK Limited, a further 10 years to consider that “improvement works ” are now needed?

Also please bear in mind that directors like Tom Dutton, have worked throughout this period for all of this time under the three different company names from the same site in Trinity Street, so WHY HAVE THEY CONSIDERED THAT “IMPROVEMENT WORKS” WERE ONLY NEEDED 27 YEARS after the licence was surrendered? 


  • They try to sell this as “attractive landscaping”. If it were the case, then why would they need planning permission just for that?
  • “The community information event” or public exhibition is another spin tactic which has been used for years in order to claim that there has been some community participation, When anyone asks any awkward questions they will not answer them, or pretend not to know. It is a way of obtaining community concerns, and then systematically attempting to rebut them in planning documents.


  • No planning application would be needed for such works on an ordinary site, but this is no ordinary landfill site, and they of course do not elaborate as to what harmful chemicals are buried there or those capable of causing significant harm.
  • For “Environmental sustainability” of the site, read “saleable package opportunity”.
  • “Custodians”, “specialist”, “rigorous”– why are such grandiose terms used here, and why would “specialist contractors” be needed or “rigorous health and safety legislation” be needed if the site poses no risk to local residents in either its present state or that between which they intend for it to be?
  • “The minimal” impact on wildlife and local residents is a matter for debate in terms of the health risks posed during and after works.


  • Note that “our” and “we” suddenly becomes “I” for inexplicable reasons. Who are you “I”?
  • This appears to be a direct quote which came lifted from one of the newsletters put out under the name of “site redevelopment manager” John “quicksilver” Moorhouse, (or The Mercury Man). You will note however as I have that this director left the company in December of 2020, so anything HE stated then is not exactly any longer relevant, unless someone else named in any position at the company states it now.

  • In the same June 2020 newsletter they claim that works would last “about 8 months”



  • “We welcome comments regarding the improvement programme and will answer any questions you may have” Hey folks let’s see if they do.  😉 


Well , it’s a hazardous waste site for starters FFS!  😛 

I have outlined the real history of the site, and the chemicals of concern in the PDF below, but do realise that in the original site licence application it was admitted that “some radioactive wastes” had been dumped at the Gower Tip.


“I Background

This site is a former clay marl hole which has been used as an industrial tip since 1938. The site has received large quantities of toxic and hazardous waste since this time. These are mostly comprised of various compounds of phosphorus together with some radio-active wastes, laboratory chemicals, solvents e.t.c. The site represents the major disposal outlet for the Company’s waste phosphorus pentasulphide and phosphorus susquisulphide.

These waste arisings are the main problem associated with this site since they are highly reactive especially with water

On this note, neither The Environment Agency or Sandwell council were in possession of any of the facts as to what type and what quantities, or how if at all this had been remediated when asked about the matter in freedom of information requests. HAD THE WASTES BEEN REMEDIATED, IS IT STILL THERE? Remember how Albright and Wilson had been fined for enriching phosphorus during their disastrous “remediation” of their Portishead site IN 1989. DID ANY OF THIS GET DUMPED AT THE GOWER WHICH CLOSED IN 1994

It is also news to me that this site received any waste from British Industrial plastics (B.I.P), and this information was not contained in the original licence application as evidenced above. Are Solvay trying to pull a fast one here in any liabilities caused by another company? I would like to know the source of this claim and the validity of it, as it throws into doubt the type of chemicals present at the site, and potential impact for co disposal.


We know this landscaping tale is bullshit because we can see from the joke Dudley port Supplementary Planning Document that there are ambitions for land conversion to housing all around the Gower tip site- to create more houses for site allocations. I have marked the said Solvay site with a relevant poison symbol so you can clearly see what I am talking about. The problem is The Gower Tip – a hazardous waste tip is piggy in the middle between the two areas either side of it. 


The recently published Black Country plan, (of more which I will be writing about soon), spells out these land parcels surrounding the Gower Tip site, and let’s therefore look at all of them. The policies map can be viewed below.

09d – Appendix D – BCP Policies map

You can see from this that parcels of land are numbered. Obviously you can see the areas around rattlechain lagoon and the Temple Way estate, but there are four more in close proximity to The Gower tip.

Gower Tip is shaded grey


SAHO76 forms a direct land border with this site, and is currently an industrial area.

The Black country plan states the following about this area.

“Does not meet accessibility thresholds in HOU2”


This states that some landowners on this site are looking to bring the site forward, anticipate that it could be ready between 2036-2038 with an area capable of supporting 64 homes. 

“HOU2” is a policy contained within the vast Black country plan which states thus.

What this basically means, is that these proposals would be unlikely to get planning permission as a result of this policy because the houses are too densely packed. We can therefore see in this context what “Rhodia’s” phoney Gower planning application is really about, and that is attempting to overcome this obstacle with them able to sell off this land eventually to the greedy neighbours who want to cash in. 

The other land parcels are

SAH227. Only 106 houses are thought to be available on this industrial site.

SAH099 Summerton Road-  32 claimed houses could be built here.

“land owners operate for 5-10 years”. Also does not meet accessibility threshold HOU2

SAH229 Brades Road- submitted as a call for site- basically any industrialists who want to fuck off and leave behind contaminated land paid to be “cleaned up” by Andy Street’s tax payer rip off fund.

51 houses claimed could be built here.


Taken together then let’s add up those numbers, and you can see how densely packed they are within a small area.

64+106+32+51= 253 new houses in this small area. When you add this to the nonsense proposed by rattlechain of 322 and 32, that adds up to 607 new houses in a mile square of Tividale. 



Black Country Plan (

I will also be objecting to the planning application that is mentioned here.  I can only urge people living in this area to do the same, and also to lobby their local MP and councillors to get this shit thrown out.

So go along to the public exhibition and ask some awkward questions of “Rhodia”, but above all do not believe the spin they are trying to put out here, as if you have only half of a brain you will surmise from all this that this is no simple “landscaping” exercise for the common good.


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“Rhodia’s” latest Rattlechain deception

On passing the infamous turquoise (and heavily rusted) gates to the hazardous waste lagoon in June, I had noticed that the site ID board information was missing.

An inquiry to The Environment Agency stated that they had not given permission for it to be removed and that “Rhodia”  were in the process of replacing it allegedly because it was in poor condition.  🙄

“Following your email and concerns, our officers have conducted an immediate site inspection on 25 June 2021.  The Environment Agency has not given permission to remove the sign.  A site inspection report has been issued to the permit holders containing any a permit breach for the removal of the sign, this includes an action to replace the sign.  We have spoken with the operator a temporary replacement is to be installed, while a permanent sign is made.  It has been indicated by the permit holder that the sign was removed due to it being in poor state of repair. ” 

So this is what then appeared, but not on the gate itself, almost as if they didn’t really want it to be noticed.


The Environmental permit number EPR/JB3909LT hides the site licensing history of the site.

The EA also stated

“There has been a company name change from Rhodia to Solvay Solutions Uk Ltd.  We have received and granted a permit transfer to this new company in March 2021 under permit reference EPR/JB3909LT.  For your information we have provided you a copy of this recent transfer, see attached.  This includes a full status log of the permit through the years.  The permit holder has not requested the site to be surrendered.   

The site has a closure plan which was issued in October 2013, this sets out the sites aftercare, monitoring and maintenance.  The operator does carry out regular water, gas and ground water monitoring, which they are required to submit to us.  The data and results are checked for anomalies or elevated levels of certain chemicals or determinants, in order to monitor and prevent any pollution risk. ”    

In response to this I would state that it has taken “Solvay Solutions UK Limited” 10 years to transfer this site to their own brand, but that the public face of this still presents the site as being owned by the entity “Rhodia Limited”.

The new permit for the site can be read below.

Permit transfer[563]

As for the regular gas, water sampling etc, the EA do not verify anything themselves on the ground and so how they can detect “anomalies” on the basis of this is of course an operator marking their own work. None of this data is put in the public domain by the company themselves. 

Albright and Wilson-Rhodia- Solvay Solutions- all the same old same old for the same hazardous waste site and operating from the Watford address.

But “Solvay Solutions limited” however have not appeared prominently on the new yellow notice board- perhaps a very apt colour on account of the “yellow phosphorus” buried under the water and geotextile membrane.

Why the small print?

The new warning sign, (condition 31) reflects the new permit number , but gone is the link to the original site licence (SL31) which of course contains the only detail worth knowing about what chemicals had gone in there from 1978. Of course what went before that was a bloody free for all.

Perhaps Solvay Solutions UK Limited are aware that the only thing as toxic as Rattlechain Lagoon is the company association with Rhodia- which of course they were heavily fined for due to an uncontrolled release of phosphine gas.  

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