The Environment Agency has taken further enforcement action against the operators of Waste 4 Fuel at Cornwall Drive, St Pauls Cray. Legal papers were served in connection with allegations that previous commitments given to the High Court about operations at the site were not being met.
The case is expected to be heard by the High Court on 28 March. In addition to the latest legal action, the Environment Agency is continuing to monitor activity and take air samples which are being shared with the Health Protection Agency.
Last Friday, James Brokenshire had paid his second visit to the site in the last month to see what steps were being made by the company to reduce the amount of the waste on site and to control the fire risk. James underlined to the company the serious continuing concerns and complaints of the local community and the need for assurance that these problems were being addressed.
During the visit Waste 4 Fuel explained that they had been seeking to reduce the height of the waste pile and the risk of combustion by shredding and had hired additional plant and equipment. Managers explained that the site was being monitored around the clock because of the potential fire risk and steps were being taken to damp down any flare ups following advice from the London Fire Brigade.
The company said that they were continuing to explore options for waste to be used as fuel for waste to energy plants overseas, but as yet no formal contracts had been concluded. Waste4Fuel said that in the short term they were seeking permission to take more waste onto the site to support their business plans.
Commenting James Brokenshire said:
“Whilst there has clearly been activity to process and shred volumes of waste, there seems to be little progress in actually removing volumes of material from the site. Complaints about odour and smoke from the site appear to be extending further into Sidcup and with the warmer weather I’m worried that these problems may increase.
“Clearly, the Court will now need to consider whether Waste 4 Fuel are fulfilling the legal requirements and obligations placed on them. I will continue to press both the Environment Agency and the company to address the serious problems this site continues to cause to local people.”