Recycling firm frustrated as blaze still burns
5:00am Saturday 2nd August 2014 in By Craig Jones, Reporter
AVERIES Recycling claim the fire at their Marshgate site could be out by now if the Environment Agency didn’t disrupt the firefighters who are dealing with the incident.
Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is still at Averies’ base attempting to put out the waste fire which started on July 21.
Firefighters are working with Averies, Swindon Council, NHS England, Wiltshire Police and the Environment Agency to investigate the cause and reduce the affect the smoke is having on residents and neighbouring businesses.
A spokesperson for Averies said: “We remain concerned about the incident at our Marshgate site which has now been burning since the evening of Monday, July 21.
“Despite the view of the Environment Agency, we continue to work with all of the relevant authorities to minimise the disruption that the fire is having on the community.
“Our staff are undertaking a key role in fighting the fire and will continue to do so.
“We understand that delays have been caused by the Environment Agency consenting to the fire service’s method of dealing with the incident. Much to the frustration of everyone involved.
“Had that consent been given much earlier and the fire service been able to implement its strategy, there is every chance the fire would now have been extinguished.
“We would encourage the authorities to work together to decide on a course of action which will bring this incident to a conclusion.”
Averies has also repeatedly apologised to neighbouring residents and businesses for the problems the fire has caused.
The Averies spokesperson said: “We continue to feel desperately for our neighbours and the wider Swindon community and again offer our sincere apologies for the ongoing inconvenience that the fire continues to cause.
“However, unless the fire service get agreement to their strategy to deal with this incident, it does look like the current situation will continue for some time to come.”
Residents have called for the fire service to use foam on the blaze as they feel it’ll quickly bring it to an end. It is unknown whether the foam is part of the strategy which Averies is referring to.
The Environment Agency said they raised concerns of a potential fire risk at Averies during a routine visit earlier this year. Averies were also prosecuted last year for breaching environmental regulations.
The Averies spokesperson said: “We would reiterate that Averies Recycling operates a fully licensed waste transfer site at Marshgate and has systems in place to deal effectively with waste that is brought into the site. We work closely with the Environment Agency in all aspects of our operation.”
The Environment Agency continues to monitor water in the River Cole to ensure that the fire hasn’t contaminated it.
An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “When the fire started we deployed our national air quality monitoring team to provide information to the response.
“This has now been transferred to Swindon Council.
“We are working with our partners to ensure extinguished waste is being safely removed from the site by the operator.”
Anyone concerned about inhaling smoke from the blaze should call NHS 111.
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