Telford & Wrekin Council is calling on the government for urgent support following ongoing concerns over the Greenway Polymers Site in Telford.
Council Leader Shaun Davies and local ward members have written to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice, to express concern and a desire for much needed financial assistance to the Environment Agency as lead authority to investigate, prosecute and recover the land as a matter of urgency.
The fire involving bales of waste plastic and machinery broke out at the site on Rock Road between Ketley and Overdale just after midday on Monday 26 April, it took over a month to put out. A further minor fire broke out at the weekend.
Telford & Wrekin Council contributed £200,000 towards a £500,000 operation to tackle the fire at the former Greenway Polymers site in Ketley.
Dear Secretary of State
Re: Recycling House, Rookery Road, Telford (formerly Greenways Waste Recycling Ltd)
We are writing on behalf of our residents to express an on-going concern regarding the extensive amount of abandoned waste at the above site and seek your urgent support.
In terms of history, on two occasions Telford & Wrekin Council refused planning applications for operations on the site. On both occasions, the decisions were overturned on appeal by a government appointed planning inspector. In 2017, the operators of the site went into administration leaving approximately 50,000T of waste on the site and a legacy for the Environment Agency (as regulator and lead agency) to manage with the landowner.
In April this year, a significant fire broke out on the site that had major impacts for residents, local schools and the M54. In response, Telford & Wrekin Council allocated £200,000 to support a multi-agency response that was led by Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service; this also included the support of the Environment Agency in its role as waste regulator and lead authority. The fire took four weeks to extinguish, required the demolition of a large building and required a significant amount of resource from partners in managing the incident. The site remains secure but with the waste, some now burnt and no longer under cover, very much open to the elements. Given the volume of material for disposal and associated costs, this site remains a significant concern for our residents, ourselves and is an ongoing risk for the wider area including the M54.
On Saturday 17 July there was another fire incident at the site with further damping down needed on Monday 19 July; while smaller in scale once again it required the support of both Telford & Wrekin Council, the Environment Agency and Shropshire Fire & Rescue. The swift action of the fire service has so far prevented a major incident occurring for which we are grateful.
The Borough and residents of Telford & Wrekin urgently need support from Government to step in and provide much needed financial assistance to the Environment Agency as lead authority to investigate, prosecute and recover the land as a matter of urgency. This cannot and must not continue to be a worry for local residents and businesses while continuing to place burden on Telford & Wrekin Council and Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service. Based on recent events the time is now for urgent action from Government.
We look forward to working with you to achieve a positive outcome for our community.
Cllr Shaun Davies – Leader, Telford & Wrekin Council
Cllr Amrik Jhawar – Ward Member for Ketley and Overdale
Cllr Eileen Callear – Ward Member for Ketley and Overdale
Cllr Mark Boylan – Ward Member for Ketley and Overdale
c.c.Rebecca Pow MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Clare Dinnis, Area Director, Environment Agency