Abandoned waste sparks inferno despite 4 years of EA intervention

The Environment Agency (EA) had been working for four years to get abandoned waste removed from a site, which last Monday caught fire and turned into a huge blaze, it has confirmed.

At its height, the fire, which took place at a building formerly owned by the now dissolved Greenway Polymers in Telford, was being tackled by 70 firefighters.

The operation is still ongoing. Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service said it was continuing to clear the site around the main building, which it plans to  dismantle tomorrow. 

A spokesperson added: “The fire has been contained for many days now and is smouldering, the dismantling process is taking place due to the structure being unsafe but also allowing our firefighters access to extinguish the fire completely.”

During the blaze, an entire stretch of the M54 motorway was closed and a number of schools had to shut due to air quality concerns.

The abandoned recycling centre was previously operated by recycling business and RDF exporters Greenway Polymers, which dissolved in 2017.

Since then, the EA said it had been working with its partners and the landowner to “address the situation and get the waste removed from the site”. However, the EA said this was “a complex legal process”.

There have been long-held concerns about the site. Conservative MP Lucy Allan said she had met residents several times at the former Greenways site to discuss concerns about the impact of the site on the area.

Before the fire, concerns included “vermin infestation, the impact on local air and water quality and fire risk”.

In a statement, Allan said: “This site has long caused problems for local residents and has been an accident waiting to happen. It’s extraordinary that despite the owners ceasing trading in 2017 the site is still full of waste material. This is a very serious incident which will have long term consequences in our area. I am determined that residents’ safety and well-being are prioritised.”

An EA spokesperson, said: “We are continuing to work with our partners to provide support and advice as part of the multi-agency response to the fire.   

“This includes monitoring watercourses for any adverse impacts, and providing air quality monitoring equipment.” 

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