Council calls for EA funding to tackle abandoned waste site which sparked month-long blaze

A council has written to the environment secretary George Eustice, calling for financial assistance for the Environment Agency (EA) in dealing with an abandoned waste site, which caught fire and turned into a month-long blaze in April.

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

Telford & Wrekin Council contributed £200,000 towards a £500,000 operation to put the fire out.

In a letter published in Shropshire Live, Telford & Wrekin Council noted that there was a second smaller fire at the site on the weekend, which “once again required the support of both Telford & Wrekin Council, the Environment Agency and Shropshire Fire & Rescue”. 

Shaun Davies, the council leader, said the council and residents urgently need support from the government “to step in and provide much needed financial assistance to the EA 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,” he added.

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”.

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