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Counting the £2m cost of Leicester's MRF fire

The cost of the fire that ripped through Leicesters recycling plant days before it was due to open in July has been estimated at £2 million.

Biffa is having to replace the internal membrane of the ball mill that caught fire as well as repairing the buildings roof, replacing components and industrially cleaning surfaces and computers.

But despite all the damage, the waste-management company believes the £30m plant will be operational by mid-October.

Biffa also revealed that the fire started during a modification to the inside of the ball mill drum, which rotates to allow 20lb steel balls to grind down household rubbish. Contractors carrying out welding work caused the rubber membrane to ignite.

The Midlands city has seen its recycling rate crash from 35% to around 19% since the fire, but there have been no disruptions to kerbside collections. Biffa remains confident it will hit its 40% recycling target for Leicester in 2005.

Biffa Leicester general manager Mick Davis added: We are pleased the ball mill will be up and running again before too long. Biffa Leicester staff have remained positive and worked hard through very difficult conditions towards getting the facility back online and to ensure waste collection and recycling services were unaffected.

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