The Environment Agency has blamed a “complex legal process” for the non-removal of old bales of waste at the former Greenway Polymers Telford waste site, for close to four years.
The reference to legal complexities came today (4 May) from the Agency with regard to a huge fire at the site, that the Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has battled for over a week.
Fire crews first arrived to the scene on Rock Road in Ketley at 12.02pm on Monday 26 April, where they found the waste piles alight.
SFRS confirmed to letsrecycle today (4 May) that fire crews are now working to dismantle the structure of the building and efforts to tackle the blaze could continue for an additional three days.
Last week, the significant amount of smoke in the area caused the nearby M54 to be closed for five days while fire crews worked to scale down the fire.
"We continue to work hard on site to extinguish the fire. …it is under control and we are mitigating the impact of the fire on our local communities." – ACFO Dan Quinn.
Read the latest on the Greenway Polymers fire from ourselves and partner agencies.
🌐 https://t.co/ARGyX3m2BO pic.twitter.com/vylRaIkgdm
— Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service (@shropsfire) April 29, 2021
The abandoned recycling centre was previously operated by recycling business and RDF exporters Greenway Polymers, which dissolved in 2017.
Since then, the Environment Agency said it has been working with the landowner to remove the waste from the site.
A full statement from the Environment Agency noted: “Since 2017, we have been working with our partners and the landowner to address the situation and get the waste removed from the site, however this is a complex legal process.”
There has been concerns surrounding the site among the local community and politicians for a number of years.
Residents have reportedly been raising concerns around vermin infestation and health and safety, relating to the waste at the site.
Telfords conservative MP, Lucy Allen, announced last week that she would be meeting with Telford and Wrekin council, local stakeholders and emergency responders to raise issues directly.
In a statement published on Thursday, Ms Allen 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.”
Senior labour councillor for Ketley, Eileen Callear, also revealed to letsrecycle today that the building has been a “contentious site” for many years, and concerns have been passed down to the Environment Agency for a few years to no avail.