Calls for urgent Government action after Telford recycling centre blaze

Calls have been made for urgent action from the Goverment to address 'significant concerns' following a major blaze which dominated the skyline above Telford for a month.

The fire at the Greenway site burned for a month
The fire at the Greenway site burned for a month

More than 1,000 firefighters tackled the incident at the former Greenway Polymers Recycling site in Ketley, in April and May.

Firefighters returned to the site on Saturday evening to deal with a pile of plastic and refuse which had caught fire.

Telford & Wrekin Council's leader, together with ward councillors, have now written to the Environment Secretary to ask for financial assistance to ensure the site is kept safe, and to help with investigations and any prosecutions that might be brought.

The letter, signed by councillors Shaun Davies, Amrik Jhawar, Eileen Callear and Mark Boylan, says there are ongoing concerns regarding the "extensive amount of abandoned waste" at the site.

Smoke pouring from the site in Ketley. Photo: Sam Bagnall

It said: "In April this year, a significant fire broke out on the site that had major impacts for residents, local schools and the M54.

"In response, Telford & Wrekin Council allocated £200,000 to support a multi-agency response that was led by Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service; this also included the support of the Environment Agency in its role as waste regulator and lead authority.

"The fire took four weeks to extinguish, required the demolition of a large building and required a significant amount of resource from partners in managing the incident.

"The site remains secure but with the waste, some now burnt and no longer under cover, very much open to the elements.

"Given the volume of material for disposal and associated costs, this site remains a significant concern for our residents, ourselves and is an ongoing risk for the wider area including the M54."

It said, while the blaze last weekend was smaller in scale, it required the support of the council, Environment Agency and fire service.

The letter continues: "The borough and residents of Telford & Wrekin urgently need support from Government to step in and provide much needed financial assistance to the Environment Agency as lead authority to investigate, prosecute and recover the land as a matter of urgency.

"This cannot and must not continue to be a worry for local residents and businesses while continuing to place burden on Telford & Wrekin Council and Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service. Based on recent events the time is now for urgent action from Government."

The incident is understood to have been the longest running in the county since the fire service were tasked with putting out a blaze at Kingpin Tyres in Wem back in 2010.

Fire commanders faced numerous difficulties in dealing with the incident, with the dangerous building preventing access, and the need to take about 20,000 litres of contaminated water off site, every day.

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