Enough is enough: Time for action on Waste4Fuel recycling plant in St Paul's Cray

Cornwall Drive residents outside the Waste4Fuel recycling plant, Cornwall Drive.

Cornwall Drive residents outside the Waste4Fuel recycling plant, Cornwall Drive.

First published in News
Last updated
News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , deputy news editor

TWO years, 11 fires, 550 fire engines, 1,958 hours of firefighters' time and £560,000 in taxpayers money - these figures tell the sorry story of the Waste4Fuel recycling plant in St Paul's Cray.

Callouts to the notorious Cornwall Drive site have seen the London Fire Brigade return there time and again, with ten fires coming in the last nine months.

In total this represents over 1,958 working hours and more than £560,000 in time and firefighting resources.

News Shopper:

Left to right: Residents Jan Watkins, Patricia Martin & Maxine O'Connor

Neighbour Maxine O'Connor, 67, of Cornwall Drive, said of the plant: "It is disgusting. The stench yesterday was terrible.

"From Sunday afternoon until Monday afternoon the smell was so bad we couldn't open our doors and windows.

"Even then the smell was coming into our homes.

"And nothing seems to be getting done.

"This is a serious environmental problem. It has really got out of hand."

News Shopper:

A fire engine at the site in April last year

When will something be done?

News Shopper editor Andy Parkes said: "The stench is now overpowering when you get anywhere near the site.

"The obnoxious smell is so bad some drivers are even avoiding the area.

"My sympathies lie with the poor local residents. If the foul, acrid smell is that bad in a car driving past with its windows firmly shut, what must it be like for the poor devils living nearby?

"This huge rotting mound of filth grows larger and more gross every day – when will something be done to end this misery?

"Surely this must be reaching a point where this is becoming a threat to the health and safety of local people."

Concerns over the future

In a bid to reduce the impact of Waste4Fuel's blazeson London's tax payers, the fire brigade has now written to the Environment Agency urging them to intervene.

Last November, the agency successfully obtained a High Court injunction against Waste4Fuel Ltd, requiring the company to remove all combustible waste from the site by May 1.

News Shopper:

A fire rages at the site in December 2011

But fire chiefs are still concerned that, unless the Environment Agency closely monitors the site, the current level of fires will continue.

Indeed, at the end of last year, Waste4Fuel attempted to secure permission to store more flammable material at the site, a move that was rejected Fire Minister Brandon Lewis MP.

An unacceptable situation

MP for Bromley and Chislehurst  Bob Neill said: "The situation is completely unacceptable.

"The Environment Agency is still failing to use their powers to enforce properly - they only seem to look at it in terms to their budget.

"At the same time other public money is being wasted.

"As well as failing to remove the waste, they have failed to take toxicity tests, and the end of last year they tried to add more combustable waste."

News Shopper:

Incidents at the plant have often caused traffic problems on Sevenoaks Way

Orpington MP Jo Johnson added: "I, Bob and the council have been putting every pressure we can on the Environment Agency to take action.

"This firm has got to comply with the court order, which it has obviously not been doing.

"What is needed is proper enforcement action.

"It's completely unacceptable to waste tax payers money in this way, it's also disrupting the lives of local residents and it's an environmental menace.

"I am absolutely furious about it."

News Shopper:

Left to right: Chairman of London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority James Cleverly, Cray Valley West councillors Judi Ellis, Harry Stranger, John Ince, MP Bob Neill

Chairman of London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority James Cleverly said: "Not only are these fires a significant drain on the brigade's time and resources and a huge waste of taxpayers money, they are also causing considerable disruption to people living, working and studying in the area.

"The very nature of the materials stored at recycling centres like this one also means that if there is a fire it can often spread rapidly and unpredictably, increasing the risk to firefighters."

Waste4Fuel were unavailable for comment.

To view a timeline of the last two years at the Waste4Fuel recycling plant, click here.

Comments (7)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

2:12pm Tue 21 Jan 14

white rabbit9 says...

I get it now, someone is going to make a sh** load of money when the housing development come a knocking. Fires were probably done on purpose. How it works.
I get it now, someone is going to make a sh** load of money when the housing development come a knocking. Fires were probably done on purpose. How it works. white rabbit9
  • Score: 1

3:24pm Tue 21 Jan 14

Simon bald says...

why is mick hucknell there in that 2nd pic?
why is mick hucknell there in that 2nd pic? Simon bald
  • Score: 1

4:00pm Tue 21 Jan 14

The Fozziest of Bears says...

Easy solution =

Vote out the existing MP's and councillors, and make sure any prospective candidates for the area have a REAL plan for solving this - not just writing to the EA once a month.

The council already has all the powers it needs to prevent this site from operating.
Easy solution = Vote out the existing MP's and councillors, and make sure any prospective candidates for the area have a REAL plan for solving this - not just writing to the EA once a month. The council already has all the powers it needs to prevent this site from operating. The Fozziest of Bears
  • Score: 3

6:07pm Tue 21 Jan 14

Biffo. says...

Simon bald wrote:
why is mick hucknell there in that 2nd pic?
What are you blind. Its all GMILF
I don't like your one though.
[quote][p][bold]Simon bald[/bold] wrote: why is mick hucknell there in that 2nd pic?[/p][/quote]What are you blind. Its all GMILF I don't like your one though. Biffo.
  • Score: 0

6:39pm Tue 21 Jan 14

highway warrior says...

Its currently smouldering away again, and is bigger than ever. Its a complete and utter urine take some owner somewhere is laughing away counting his millions
Its currently smouldering away again, and is bigger than ever. Its a complete and utter urine take some owner somewhere is laughing away counting his millions highway warrior
  • Score: 1

12:58am Wed 22 Jan 14

danm5577 says...

I work nearby and the smell is disgusting!
I work nearby and the smell is disgusting! danm5577
  • Score: 1

2:03pm Fri 24 Jan 14

tdlkent says...

To hear that there was yet another fire yesterday is outrageous. It is disgusting. The stench is sick making.. yet this pile of crap gets bigger and bigger every day ! Why is it being stockpiled ? If it is Waste for Fuel where is it supposed to be turned into fuel ? Where is it coming from ? Is it Bromley and Bexley's recycling ? Why are our M.P.S. getting nowhere with the D.O.E.?
Most of all, why has this not gone National ? If, as in the Great Stink of 1858
http://en.wikipedia.
org/wiki/Great_Stink it was under Parliament's nose then action would be taken. Come on News Shopper, tell the world.
To hear that there was yet another fire yesterday is outrageous. It is disgusting. The stench is sick making.. yet this pile of crap gets bigger and bigger every day ! Why is it being stockpiled ? If it is Waste for Fuel where is it supposed to be turned into fuel ? Where is it coming from ? Is it Bromley and Bexley's recycling ? Why are our M.P.S. getting nowhere with the D.O.E.? Most of all, why has this not gone National ? If, as in the Great Stink of 1858 http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Great_Stink it was under Parliament's nose then action would be taken. Come on News Shopper, tell the world. tdlkent
  • Score: 1

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