Noxious fumes fire fears raised over proposed new waste centre

Industrial fire at the waste plant in Lackford in May 2011
Industrial fire at the waste plant in Lackford in May 2011
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Fears have been raised that a fire at a proposed new waste transfer station could see noxious fumes released over Bury St Edmunds.

A consultation over Suffolk County Council’s plans for the waste station at the existing household waste recycling centre on Rougham Hill, is due to end next Friday (12).

But Chris and Loretta Cullen from Westgarth Gardens in Bury have voiced health fears over the move.

It follows a fire two years ago at the Lackford waste recycling centre, inside a building storing 120 tons of rubbish.

“We understand that one of the reasons for the proposed site was due to the burning down of the waste transfer station at Lackford,” said Mr and Mrs Cullen.

“The potential for waste plastics and other noxious flammable materials to be ignited so close to the local community is extremely worrying,

“Surely it cannot be the right place to site a waste transfer station in the heart of the community where it could put lives and property in danger.

“This has to be an unacceptable risk to the local community.”

They said the chief fire officer in the West Midlands told BBC Radio Four earlier this week, that there had been 15 fires at waste transfer stations there so far this year.

The couple also raised concerns that it could increase traffic in an area ‘already heavily congested’.

County Cllr Sarah Stamp who represents the Hardwick division which includes Rougham Hill said she had not had the fire concerns raised with her by any of the residents she had spoken to.

But she said she will never-the-less take the issue up with the county council.

“I have had some meetings with local residents whose concerns are largely the same as mine, around the traffic issue.

“This is the first I heard about the possibility of a fire.”

She asked anybody with any concerns to take part in the consultation and to raise them with her on 01284 769360 or 07714 598001 or by emailing

She said a lot of the other concerns that have been raised by residents so far such as noise and smell, have been addressed.

“The main outstanding issue is still traffic and I will be asking officers how they are going to try to mitigate that,” Cllr Stamp said.

Cllr Richard Smith, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member responsible for waste, said: “We believe that the impact on local residents will be minimal.”

A council spokeswoman said it was working closely with The Environment Agency over the plans.

The proposal will see waste collected from residents and businesses and stored in an indoor facility.

The material will then be transported with recycling sent to reprocessing facilities and residual waste sent to Suffolk’s central Energy from Waste facility which is currently being built at Great Blakenham and will be operating by December 2014.