Fire service's £52,000 overspend due to recycling site blaze

A blaze at a waste plant which burned for weeks led to a £52,000 overspend by Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The Greenway Polymers site the day after the fire
The Greenway Polymers site the day after the fire

The huge fire at the former Greenway Polymers at Ketley in April and May involved 50,000 tonnes of households waste. Firefighters worked around the clock at the site.

Now a report for fire authority members says the £52,000 hole in the finances will be plugged using an extreme incidents reserve.

The report from Head of Finance Joanne Coadey and Treasurer James Walton say the prolonged attendance of fire fighters, and additional equipment and uniform costs, led to Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service exceeding its 2021-22 budget in two areas.

The service as a whole is so far £212,000 in surplus against its £23 million 2021-22 budget.

The Shropshire and Wrekin Fire and Rescue Authority Strategy and Resources Committee will discuss the report – which updates members on the brigade’s finances to the end of July – when it meets next Thursday, September 16.

Despite the overall surplus, under the “service delivery” heading, the report says that the on-call system is £34,000 overspent.

“The service has incurred additional costs in this area due to prolonged attendance at the recent incident in Ketley,” they write.

“It is proposed that this cost is covered with a contribution from the extreme incidents reserve.”

The technical services division also faced extra costs, amounting to an £18,000 overspend, because of the fire.

“These covered a number of areas, including operation equipment and maintenance, uniforms and laundry."

“It is proposed that these costs are also covered with a contribution from the extreme incidents reserve.”

A report accompanying this year’s budget, received and approved by the fire authority in February, says the extreme incidents reserve is in place to deal with extreme weather conditions and unanticipated future activity which may not be containable within revenue budgets. It stood at £334,000 at the beginning of the year.

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