Residents living close to the Waste4Fuel site in St Paul's Cray have been reflecting on the "absolute hell" of the last two years, with a High Court verdict determining the future of the recycling plant expected today.

It is hoped contempt of court charges brought against Waste4Fuel by the Environment Agency (EA) - for failing to remove combustible waste from the site - will finally result in its closure.

The residents

Patricia Smith, of Bostall Road, said: "The site has been absolute hell. It has ruined our lives. Everyone is depressed and miserable.

"We have done everything we can. We have written to councillors, MPs, we have spoken to the EA, we even went down to their offices.

"We have spent all our spare time talking to these people but sometimes it has seemed like there is just nothing we can do.

"I cannot open windows, cannot sit in the garden, cannot open doors, really we are prisoners.

"I have lived here thirty years and I have never had to do what I am doing now."

News Shopper:

Patricia Smith and Maxine O'Connor

The 69-year-old, whose house is loomed over by the mountain of waste, added: "The stress side of it is enormous, you don't sleep.

"Everyone is mad and frustrated.  It is absolutely shocking. We have had it."

Chris O'Connor, 69, of Sevenoaks Way, said: "For the last two years we have been unable to open our windows. I have three grand-children who come here and there's no way they can go in the garden.

"It is crazy, absolutely crazy. It has affected everybody. Your eyes are streaming all the time.

"I don't understand why it has taken so long to close up something like this.

"We are hoping they come to a conclusion and close it down."

John Watkins, 67, Sevenoaks Way, added: "If we have a BBQ and we have 40 people in the garden and the wind changes we all have to go indoors. It is just poison.

"The properties in Cornwall Drive have become totally unsellable. Until this is cleared up it is a real, old mess.

"I am just frustrated by it, I am angry and frustrated but there is nothing I can do. I am relying on the EA getting it right."

News Shopper:

The schools

To compound the issues surrounding the site, two schools - Kemnal Technology College and Gray's Farm Primary Academy - are located opposite.

In March Jane Crockett said her 11-year-old daughter Cheyenne Rahman, a pupil at Gray's, had been made physically sick by the site.

Head teacher of Kemnal Technology College Christian Marcham said: "It has been disappointing that it has taken so long to resolve.

"There is a foul smell in the area which has been a concern for our students, parents and teachers.

"There have been times when we have had to keep our windows closed.

"It has been unpleasant. I am hoping the situation will be resolved - not only for us but for the whole local community."

News Shopper:

Colin Martin with his grandson, 6-year-old Harvey White 

News Shopper's Andy Parkes

News Shopper editor Andy Parkes said: "It’s beyond belief what these poor defenceless people have had to endure for years.

"To have the misery of this filthy stench on your doorstep day after day is unimaginable.

"For the sake of their sanity I desperately hope the end of this nightmare is now in sight.

"That they have been forced to live alongside this hellhole for years is a disgrace – it should never have been allowed in the first place."

Since December 3 2011, the London Fire Brigade has sent over 650 fire engines to 23 separate fires at the Waste4Fuel recycling site - with 17 of the fires coming in the last 12 months.

This represents more than 2,250 working hours and more than £650,000 in time and firefighting resources.

News Shopper: