Wasted chance to get fire clear-up moving
5:00am Monday 18th August 2014 in By Craig Jones, Reporter
AVERIES Recycling missed a weekend deadline to start removing waste which is hampering the clean up of the fire at their Marshgate site.
The Environment Agency gave the company until noon on Saturday for begin action but nothing happened.
The blaze has been burning for four weeks and firefighters believe that the removal of some of the waste will provide a huge boost in putting out the fire.
The agency has been working with firefighters, Averies, Swindon Council, NHS England and Wiltshire Police to deal with the incident.
Ash Dobson, from the Environment Agency, said: “On Saturday afternoon we advised the operator of our intent to use our powers to remove waste from the site to allow Wiltshire Fire and Rescue services the space to extinguish the fire.
“Environment Agen-cy contractors will start work as soon as possible. We are using our powers because the operator has failed to respond to previous enforcement notices. The multi-agency response group have done significant preparatory work to allow all parties to safely remove the waste, address risks of pollution and extinguish the fire as quickly as possible. We’re grateful for the ongoing cooperation of residents and businesses as the plan progresses.”
The Environment Agency will look to recover costs of hiring the contractor from Averies.
Since the fire started residents and business have been affected by smoke from the scene, and a petition calling for a public inquiry into how the authorities have handled the incident has been launched.
Sally Coble, from the Environment Agency, said: “I’m sure it must be very frustrating for everyone living there. We have been working since the fire broke out to get a resolution, and sometimes these things don’t happen as quickly as we would like.
“I’m sorry that things have taken as long as they have but this is not just down to the Environment Agency. It is down to the operator not wanting to come to a resolution quickly.”
The removal of the waste is expected to start this week. Previously, the council-owned former Groundwell park and rides site had been earmarked as a potential location for the transferred rubbish but that lead to a protests from residents.
The Adver understands the waste will be taken to Hills Waste Solutions, in Blunsdon.
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