The London Fire Brigade was called to waste management firm McGrath Group yesterday afternoon (13 June) in Barking, after a fire broke out at its site on the industrial estate at River Road.
In a statement, LFB explained that fire crews from Homerton, East Ham, Dagenham, Plaistow and Ilford stations were called to the scene at around 12:59pm, where “approximately 200 tonnes of mixed refuse was alight”. Six fire engines and 35 firefighters attended.
The fire was brought under control in the evening.
After a relatively quiet period for fires in the waste sector, the number of incidents in recent weeks appears to have increased. The McGrath fire follows on from a number of recent fires that have taken place in the recycling sector including in north Wales, southern England in north west England.
In the north east, after the fire at the disused Alex Smiles scrapyard near the river Wear in the Deptford area of Sunderland last month (May 14), Sunderland city council has now confirmed that it will be trying to find another use for the abandoned premises.
The city council published a statement earlier this month, explaining that an announcement will be made in “due course” as it works together with the Environment Agency to decide on a “long term solution for the land.”
In addition, both the council and the Agency are looking into solution for dealing with the “thousands of tonnes of waste” left over from the defunct site, which could cost “millions of pounds” to remove. Investigations into the cause of the fire are still unresolved and are continuing.
Les Clark, chief operations officer at Sunderland city council, said: “This is a privately owned waste site which was abandoned when the business which previously ran it went into administration in 2015. So now that the immediate emergency is over the sole responsibility for the site passes back to the owners’ pension fund.
“Prior to the fire, Sunderland city council and the Environment Agency had been working hard on a creative solution to the problem left behind by the site’s owners when their business failed, leaving thousands of tonnes of waste, costing millions of pounds to remove.
“In the long term we are keen to bring the site back into use but this is something that will require millions of pounds of investment to clear the site, so we need to be realistic about the timescales involved and we also need to assess the impact of the fire on those plans.”
Dorset-based firm W&S Recycling was also hit by a fire earlier this month. The waste management company told letsrecycle.com today that operations are “running as normal,” despite some 20% of the plant’s operational facility being affected during the blaze.
It was estimated that 600 tonnes of waste were involved.
The Dorset Fire Rescue team informed letsrecycle.com that the cause hasn’t been identified, albeit the fire service district commander, Richard Coleman, had suggested it was due to a “disposable barbecue”, which had not been “properly put out”.
Meanwhile, 300 Recycling’s site in Sandycroft, Deeside, has been deregistered from the Natural Resources Wales register as result of the site suffering two fires within two months.
Prior to the incident, the organisation had received a warning letter from NRW last year, “concerning” the amount of waste being stored at its Factory Road site in Sandycroft.
A spokeswoman for NRW, said: “We removed 300 Recycling Limited (Sandycroft site) from our waste exemption register on 4th May 2018 due to the risk the site posed to the environment and people.
He added: “NRW has not forced the company to close and have not applied for any further exemptions or permits from us since this date.”