London Fire Brigade

Fire chiefs call for action on recycling site after 11 fires

23 December 2013

London fire chiefs are asking the Environment Agency to step in after figures reveal repeated 999 call outs to a Orpington recycling centre have cost the Brigade over half a million pounds.

Since 3rd December 2011London Fire Brigade has sent over 550 fire engines to 11 separate fires at the Waste 4 Fuel recycling site on Cornwall Drive – with ten of the fires occurring in the last nine months. This represents over 1,958 working hours and more than £560,000  in time and firefighting resources.

Now in a bid to reduce the impact on London’s tax payers the Brigade  has written to the Environment Agency urging them to intervene.

In November this year the Environment Agency successfully obtained a High Court injunction against Waste 4 Fuel Ltd, requiring the company to remove all combustible waste from the site by 1 May 2014.

But despite this court order, fire chiefs are concerned that unless the Environment Agency closely monitors the Orpington site the current level of fires there will continue.

Chairman of London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority James Cleverly believes it is simply unacceptable that the issues that have led to firefighters being called to 10 fires at this one location in just nine months have not been resolved.

He said: “Not only are these fires a significant drain on the Brigade’s time and resources and a huge waste of taxpayers money, they are also causing  considerable disruption to people living, working and studying in the area. The very nature of the materials stored at recycling centres like this one also means that if there is a fire it can often spread rapidly and unpredictably, increasing the risk to firefighters.”

In addition to the injunction obtained against Waste 4 Fuel Ltd by the Environment Agency, the Brigade’s fire safety officers have also visited the site and served a notice indicating what they are required to do under fire safety regulations.