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Long closure faced by fire-hit waste centre

Kent County Council expects to have to keep a household waste and recycling centre (HWRC) shut for several months because of contamination following a fire.

The Pepperhill site near Northfleet saw a blaze last month that needed eight fire engines and other appliances to bring under control.

It broke out in the household waste bay at a waste transfer station, but the fire’s source remains unknown due to the volume of the waste handled, the council said.

Kent said significant work would last for several months to rectify damage. Test results had shown that a full decontamination process lasting some eight weeks would be needed due to chlorine levels produced from burning waste.

Work to renew lighting, doors, concrete walls, electrics, the sprinkler system, CCTV and cladding would then take up to a further month, followed by tests to determine how far the damage has infiltrated the cladding and insulation, which could see a new roof required.

Pepperhill will stay closed at least until August, but could then reopen temporarily pending a further closure in the autumn to deal with structural works.

Waste services manager Kay Groves said: “This incident has created severe pressures on the surrounding HWRCs, particularly Dartford Heath, Swanley and Cuxton.”

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