A suspected arson attack at a former waste transfer station in Lancashire has destroyed an estimated £250,000-worth of baled recyclable plastic set to be exported to the continent.
Police said a 16-year-old boy had been released on bail the day after the fire at Reform Energy’s Jameson Road site in Fleetwood.
Enquiries into the cause are ongoing as Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service perform a controlled burn of the 3,000 tonnes of plastics, said by the owner to be worth £250,000, during the next few days.
A fire service spokesperson said arson was suspected, and it was better to allow the fire at the single-storey warehouse to burn out: “The plastic bales are used for fuel and burn cleanly in furnaces, though less so in this setting.”
Reform Energy is in the process of converting the site into a £60m energy-from-waste (EfW) plant due to open in 2018, although additional remedial work will now be required on-site, costing more than £50,000.
Much of the energy generated by the new plant will be used at the £20m Fleetwood Fish Park being built by the company on adjacent land.
Chief executive John Potter said: ”We regret any inconvenience caused to local people by the smoke from the fire and road closures, and have appreciated their co-operation.
“It is unfortunate when this sort of incident occurs, but we are optimistic that it will not delay plans for the EfW plant on the site, and the associated fish park.”
The plastic material was owned by Paperback Collection and Recycling, based on Deeside in north Wales.
Fire crews from Fleetwood, Blackpool, Bispham, Wesham, St Annes and South Shore, Burnley, Hyndburn and Fulwood attended the fire. Water jets were used to prevent the fire from igniting bales of waste on surrounding land. No casualties were reported, while local residents were advised to keep windows closed.
Photos from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and the Air Ambulance
Fleetwood waste fire, Sunday. Cleaner to let fire burn out in ‘controlled’ burn. Likely arson. pic.twitter.com/6C0ofQrfpP— Lancashire Fire (@LancashireFRS) 17 April 2016