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Agency intervenes over site fire complaints

Thousands of tonnes of material must be shifted from a energy from waste collection site after smoke from a series of fires angered nearby residents.

Orpington MP Jo Johnson said the Environment Agency has served a suspension notice on Waste4Fuel’s site at St Paul’s Cray, south east London.  

The MP said the notice required Waste4Fuel to remove all combustible waste from the facility by 15 July 2013, subject to any appeal, with no less than two articulated lorries a day and moving no less than 250 tonnes per week.

The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority has served a separate notice requiring improvements.

Johnson said: “The Waste4Fuel site has become a dangerous hazard to the local community and it is high time that it faced robust enforcement action. 

“I will continue to work closely with the Environment Agency and local councillors to ensure that the operator complies in full with the notice.”

The agency said that it regarded this as “a priority site for us and as such we are allocating the appropriate amount of resources to solving the matter as soon as possible”.

London Fire Brigade said firefighters fought a blaze at the site on 10 April involving four fire engines with 21 firefighters and found around 5,500 tonnes of recycling material partially alight.

Firefighters were also called to Waste4Fuel on 18 March, when six fire engines with 35 firefighters fought a blaze.

The brigade said then that even two days after the blaze: “Due to the sheer scale of the site and the amount of waste involved with several thousand tons still smouldering three fire engines with 14 firefighters and officers continue to remain at the scene to damp down the debris”.

Waste4Fuel has been contacted for comment but has not yet responded. Its website describes it as “a company that specialises in the collection and correct disposal of waste that can be reprocessed for use in generating electricity”, and adds that it specialises in the “disposal of tyres, plastics, cardboard, metals and paper”.

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