Local MPs James Brokenshire, Bob Neill and Jo Johnson have pressed for the Environment Agency to take urgent steps to see that the rubbish mountain at Waste4Fuel is removed as soon as possible. The MPs' call came during a meeting with Environment Secretary Liz Truss convened to discuss the ongoing problems at the site just off Sevenoaks Way. At the meeting at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs the MPs also pressed for tougher financial restrictions on waste companies in the light of the problems identified by Waste4Fuel.
The meeting followed a letter to the Prime Minister underlining the serious impact on residents in all three of the MPs' constituencies. The abandoned Waste4Fuel site is thought to still hold more than 15,000 tonnes of waste.
James, Bob and Jo highlighted that the local situation had been made much worse by the Environment Agency failing to act quickly enough and robustly enough when it was abundantly clear that Waste4Fuel were failing to comply with their obligations. All three called on the Environment Agency to take further action to remove the mountain of waste left on the site after it was abandoned by Waste4Fuel.
The MPs asked the Secretary of State to consider imposing tougher financial obligations on firms wishing to apply for a licence to operate a waste transfer site like Waste4Fuel. Under their proposal, firms would have to stump up cash for a security bond in advance. This could then be used to pay for the clearance of the site and other clean up obligations should they fail to comply with their licence.
The Secretary of State agreed to raise the MPs' concerns with the Chief Executive of the Environment Agency and ask that all options to resolve the situation be considered. Ms Truss also said she would examine what further changes to the law may be needed
Commenting in a joint statement, James, Bob and Jo said:
“We welcome the positive response from the Secretary of State to the continuing concerns of local residents. It is simply unacceptable for the local community to be left with what amounts to a legalised fly tip on their doorsteps when an operator like Waste4Fuel does a midnight flit. We welcome the commitment to press the Environment Agency to consider all options to address the current problem and consider changes to waste regulations."
"It cannot be right that firms can cash in on waste dumped on their sites and then seemingly walk away scot free from the problems they have created. Obligating those seeking a licence to take out security bonds would help reduce this risk and ensure that those operating these sites foot the bill when things go wrong.”
“There are serious questions which still need to be answered by the Environment Agency as to why they allowed things to go on this long and get this bad. We will continue to press for the site to be cleared as quickly as possible and those responsible for this serious problem to be held to account."