Crews from Mersey Fire & Rescue have this afternoon left the scene of a fire at a ‘recycling centre’ in Birkenhead, 20 hours after the incident was first reported.
One person involved in the ownership of the site, however, claimed that they had alerted the authorities about the potential for fire, but their concerns were not listened to.
The service said it was called to the blaze at around 7.25pm last night, with six fire engines in use and local residents urged to shut windows.
It added that the fire had taken hold of a large area of scrap wood across an area of 40 x 40 metres and around 15 metres high, significantly higher than the current permitted height of 5 metres.
This morning (6 November), the service confirmed that it remained at the scene of the “serious” fire, adding that “smoke is still drifting from the scene” and added that an advisor is with the nearby school, but all of the children are safe.
Speaking with letsrecycle.com, somebody who said they were involved in the ownership of the site, but not the company which was renting it, has said he alerted the authorities repeatedly on the fire risk posed by the waste and that lorries were depositing waste just hours before the fire started.
“The site has been turned into an illegal tip,” letsrecycle.com was told. It is also understood that within a few weeks of the site opening on 1 June there were visits from the Environment Agency.
The image below is from Google Earth in August 2018, two months after the tenancy is thought to have started.
The individual involved with the ownership of the site went on to say that he believed the company has now been struck off the register.
A signboard at the location shows a company which has been confirmed by Companies House as to submitting an application to be dissolved on the 24th October, and accepted today. The company will now be dissolved in two months.
The individual continued: “We were told they would spend £250,000 on the site, and even cleaned it completely with a bulldozer at the start.”
He added: “Just yesterday, around 40 lorries arrived and simply dumped massive piles of waste. There was a big machine picking up rubbish and dumping in in piles that were ridiculously high. The Environment Agency had previously visited the site and were shocked at the level of dumped waste there.”
The owner added that he had spoken to several authorities, including the Environment Agency, before the fire took place, but no “meaningful” action was taken.
The Environment Agency division responsible for Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire has been contacted for comment by letsrecycle.com.