Averies ordered to move 3,000 tonnes of smouldering waste

Waste management company Averies Recycling has been served with an enforcement notice to move 3,000 tonnes of smouldering waste from its site at Marshgate in Swindon, so an ongoing fire can be extinguished.

Removal works will begin today (15 August), with waste being moved offsite (to an undisclosed location) to allow firefighters to access waste that has been burning since 21 July.

Efforts to extinguish the fire had reportedly been hampered as the source was inaccessible due to the amount of waste piled up.

Around 3,000 tonnes, thought to be around half of that on-site, is to be removed, fully extinguished and temporarily stored at an offsite location.

According to Swindon Borough Council, fires of this nature would normally be allowed to burn out on a managed basis (often for months), but that this is not a viable option in this case due to ‘the disruption it is causing for local businesses and residents’.

‘A complicated and difficult operation’

Councillor David Renard, Leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “We remain determined to put out this fire completely as quickly as possible so normality can resume for businesses and residents directly affected. Removing some of the waste is a vital part of this complicated process and it is encouraging that plans are progressing well.

“It must be stressed this is a temporary measure, the site is safe, and we are grateful for everyone’s understanding and co-operation at this difficult time.”

James Mahoney, Area Manager at Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service, added: “Public safety is the number one priority and we are working with partner agencies to implement a plan which will enable us to put this fire out as quickly as possible and allow normality to resume for everyone.

“It’s a complicated and difficult operation, but it’s also important to stress that measures are in place to ensure the public are protected. We thank residents for their understanding and co-operation and are committed to keeping any disruption to an absolute minimum.”

The council has said that it is continuing to work with Public Health England to assess the impact on local air quality and advises those living and working close by to keep doors and windows closed, as necessary.

Averies Recycling has not issued a statement.

Read more about the fire at Averies Recycling.