It has been a miserable week or so for residents on both sides of the river, in the aftermath of the fire. Despite the best efforts of the fire service, the Environment Agency and the Council, I'm very disappointed that the company themselves have not played their part in helping with the situation. The latest problem has been the smell apparently generated by rotting material onsite - as far as I am aware, inert (ie non-organic) waste only should be handled there. We have continued to liaise with all the responsible bodies to try and get the mess sorted out as soon as possible.
Today we were informed that last Friday, the Environment Agency served an enforcement notice on Albert Hill Skip Hire under the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010, requiring that by 23 July they:
(1) Remove from site all waste which consists solely or mainly of powder.
(2) Ensure that all non-hazardous waste is stored in a building or secure container and on an impermeable surface with sealed drainage OR remove such waste from the site.
(3) Enclose odorous waste in a sealed container OR remove such waste from the site OR take other appropriate measures to prevent or where that is not practicable minimise the odour.
Given the terrible impact the fire and smoke have had on the local communities in Haughton and Albert Hill, it is frankly appalling that the Environment Agency should have had to go to these lengths to make the company comply with existing rules governing the site.
As you may have seen in the Northern Echo, our new MP Jenny Chapman has joined up with us three councillors in Haughton West and the two councillors in Central ward (which covers Albert Hill), and a public meeting has been arranged for this Saturday at 10am at St James Church Hall in Barton Street. If you have an opinion about the company and its impact on the community, please do come along and have your say. This is not intended as a 'one-off' gathering - we fully intend to have futiure meetings as the company's response to the concerns - and those of the responsible agencies - becomes clearer. A well-attended meeting this Saturday will send a clear message that local people have had enough!
Finally, huge thanks to the residents locally who have volunteered to help put out notices around the area about the public meeting. It's made the task of telling as many people as possible about Saturday's meeting much, much easier.