E-petition calling for Averies blaze inquiry
5:00am Monday 11th August 2014 in By Craig Jones, Reporter
AN ONLINE petition calling for a public inquiry into the handling of the Averies Recycling fire has been launched.
Andrew Parkin, 59, who lives in Walcot and has been affected by the blaze’s smoke, has set up the e-petition on Swindon Council’s website.
The fire at the Marshgate site has been burning since Monday, July 21 and Andrew says residents are feeling frustrated and want to know why the incident hasn’t been dealt with quicker.
Firefighters are working with Averies, Swindon Council, NHS England, Wiltshire Police and the Environment Agency to deal with the blaze.
Andrew said: “This fire has affected a lot of residents and businesses. I believe that the petition is an opportunity for the public to get the answers that they deserve.
“Where I live, I have been directly affected by the thick smoke near my home.
“We’ve been told to stay inside and have our doors and windows closed.
“I’m disabled and have breathing difficulties so having my windows closed in the height of summer has left me struggling to breathe in my own home.”
Andrew said that for the council to consider his motion the petition will need to receive support from 1,500 people but he is optimistic that the public will get behind it.
He said: “I think the petition will get there as we’ve seen many, many people get very vocal on the issue.
“I understand the frustrations that the firefighters have had dealing with it as they’ve struggled to get round the site but there seems to have been a lack of consistency in the messages being sent out by Averies, the council and the Environment Agency.
We are now being told that the waste needs to be transferred. If that was the case, why has it taken so long to announce it?”
Last week, the authorities said that some of the extinguished waste would be moved, to the council-owned former Groundwell park and ride site to give firefighters more space to tackle the blaze.
Residents living near Groundwell protested against the decision and a public meeting was held on Friday to discuss it .
The authorities are considering other areas where the waste could be moved and an update about where it will go is expected this week.
The former park and ride site is favoured because it is covered by trees and the authorities claimed the waste would be out of residents’ sight.
If the transfer there receives the green light all the burnt waste will be fully extinguished before being transported.
It will also be covered over to reduce any adverse smells with 24-hour security.
Once the Marshgate fire is put out the authorities aim to return the waste to Averies as soon as possible.
Conservative councillors Dale Heenan, Emma Faramarzi, Oliver Donachie and Toby Elliot have also called for Averies to prove it has insurance.
In a joint statement they said: “Rumours are circulating that the Marshgate fire could land Swindon Council with a bill of over £400,000 for helping the fire service and the Environment Agency tackle the blaze, that Averies will save £100,000 in landfill tax and they have no insurance for the site.
“We call on Averies to publicly refute these rumours by providing their insurance company details to the council or commit to reimbursing the taxpayer in full for the cost of tackling the blaze.”
To sign the e-petition visit ww5.swindon.gov.uk/moderngov/mgEPetitionListDisplay.aspx?$LO$=1.
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