The London Borough of Bromley has bought the notorious Waste4Fuel refuse site in Orpington and the 15,000 tonnes of abandoned waste stored there.
The estimated total cost of securing the land, including the access road leading to the dump, and clearing the huge mound is estimated to be £2.7m, with the Environment Agency (EA) contributing the bulk of the funding and the council contributing £300,000.
The agreement follows extensive negotiations between the EA and the site’s owner, brokered by the council, which announced the deal in principle in August.
Now the deal is complete, the council says work to remove the waste will start shortly, following several weeks of logistical planning by its waste contractor, Veolia.
EA chief executive Sir James Bevan said he had seen for himself the misery the site had caused local residents.
“It will be welcome news to them that these complicated negotiations have finally come to a satisfactory conclusion. We will support London Borough of Bromley to get the site cleared as soon as possible.”
Deputy leader for the council, Colin Smith, called it ”a red letter day for those worst affected”.
“There have been many twists and turns, disappointments and bumps along the way, but we have remained resolutely focused throughout and, for the first time, are now in the position to be able to tackle the task which has caused so much unhappiness for so long, namely removing this disgusting blot from the Cray landscape for ever,” he said.
“We will shortly be writing to those most immediately affected by the impending works to keep them informed as to key operational dates and other possible issues of local interest as the project develops.”
In 2015, London Fire Brigade said it had attended 233 incidents at the site in Cornwall Drive, which is adjacent to housing and the A20 Sidcup bypass, since January 2012.
It said it had spent more than 3,000 working hours and £914,000 in time and firefighting resources.
Waste4Fuel was prosecuted by the fire brigade and fined £1,000 in 2014 after crews were called to 12 fires within a year at its site. It was ordered to pay costs of £7,860 plus a £100 victim surcharge.
The EA previously removed some materials to reduce the fire risk and revoked the company’s permit. But it maintained that responsibility for clearing the site lay with Waste4Fuel.