A wood recycling centre in Hertfordshire, where a large fire has been burning for more than a week, had previously had its permit suspended after failing to reduce the amount of material at the site.
The Environment Agency had told Wood Recycling Services (WRS) in Potters Crouch in July to reduce the amount of wood waste on site in Appspond Lane to less than 10,000 tonnes and stop accepting further wood. However the agency said its deadlines were not met and it issued a suspension notice in September.
WRS said the fire, which has now been contained, is in a stockpile of graded recycled wood for processing and preparation as biomass fuel for power stations in the UK and abroad.
In a statement WRS said: “We are working alongside the fire service and their investigation into the cause of the fire. As the fire started on the very top of the pile, there is a possibility that it could have started by accident, perhaps even by a spent firework.”
The firm said that the economic impact of the fire would be “considerable”. Director Simon Lupson said: “It is very frustrating that a fire like this not only stops a good and growing business in its tracks, but restricts the amount of bio-fuel available to green power stations through these winter months, right when they need it most.”
WRS processes up to 60,000 tonnes of biomass fuel per year.
The company said that while demand was somewhat depressed at the moment, it expected it to grow as investment returns to the sector and more facilities seek alternative, sustainable fuel services.
Recently, wood recyclers have called for more development of the energy from waste market as an end market for recycled wood, as many recyclers experience a glut of waste as demand slows.
The fire service has said that the fire will be allowed to burn out naturally although it is not know how long this will take.