How to handle fire is a burning issue
5:30am Thursday 7th August 2014 in By Craig Jones, Reporter
COUNCILLOR Joe Tray has spoken out against plans to move burnt waste from Averies Recycling to the former Ground-well park and ride site.
Some of the non-hazardous waste from the Marshgate site is being moved to allow firefighters to deal with the long-running fire faster.
Firefighters are working with Averies, Swindon Council, NHS England, Wiltshire Police and the Environment Agency to deal with the blaze which started on July 21.
He said: “I’m not happy with the choice of Groundwell park and ride.
“It is in a built up area and I don’t think it is right to put the waste there as it is bound to have an affect on surrounding properties. Me and my fellow ward councillors are not in favour of this move and I will be pushing for an alternative site to be found.
“Surely it would be better to put it in a country site away from residential properties?”
Coun Tray was meeting with the authorities yesterday afternoon to voice his concerns about the waste being moved.
“It is understood that if the plans get the go-ahead the waste could be moved by the weekend.
Firefighters have continually struggled for space at the Averies site in their battle to put the blaze out. Once the waste has been removed they intend to tackle the fire more intensely.
The waste cannot just be taken to a landfill as it could increase the risk of further fires.
As the park and ride compound is covered by trees, the authorities claim that the waste will be out of sight. All of the burnt waste will be fully extinguished and checked before being taken to the site. It will also be covered over to reduce any adverse smells.
In addition to the high perimeter fencing at the compound there will also be 24 hour security.
Once the Marshgate fire is put out the authorities aim to return the waste to Averies as soon as possible.
Coun David Renard, Swindon Council leader, said: “We remain determined to put out this fire completely as quickly as possible so normality can resume for businesses and residents directly affected.
“Removing some of the waste is a vital part of this complicated process and it is encouraging that plans are progressing well.
“I fully appreciate that the idea of this waste being stored somewhere in Swindon is not going to be welcome to everyone. However, various sites have been considered and this is the only Council-owned area which offers the necessary space and suitable ground for the storage. It must be stressed this is a temporary measure, the site is safe, and we are grateful for everyone’s understanding and co-operation at this difficult time.”
Since the fire began, smoke has swept across Swindon affecting neighbouring residents and businesses. Averies has repeatedly apologised for the disruption that the incident has caused.
Fires, like the one at Averies, are normally allowed to burn out on a managed basis, but as this is likely to last many months, this is not being considered due to the disruption it is causing for businesses and residents.
The Environment Agency is monitoring the water in the River Cole to ensure the fire has not contaminated it.
The council is monitoring what effect the smoke is having on Swindon’s air quality.
Anyone concerned about inhaling smoke should call NHS 111. Those wishing to report an environmental issue can call the Environment Agency on 0800 807060.
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