Businesses in Lockwood fear the health of employees is at risk over fumes hanging over the area from a stinking waste tip.

Company boss Martin Adams is to hire experts to test the air quality in a bid to force the authorities into action.

Mr Adams, managing director of Wentworth Valve Components Ltd in Albert Street, said the former Hunters waste tip in nearby Queens Mill Road was always a “disaster waiting to happen” and he was shocked at the lack of action from the Environment Agency and Kirklees Council.

The tip burst into flames last month and smouldered for weeks. Smoke from the site drifted over the surrounding area and Mr Adams said the potential risk to health was unknown.

“When the fire first started we saw police officers with masks over their faces and yet the only advice local people have had was to keep their windows and doors shut,” he said.

“The smoke emanating from the fire has left a foul stench across Lockwood. We have no idea what is in this tip and just how harmful it could be.”

Video thumbnail, Drone footage of the former Hunter Group tip site, Lockwood
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Mr Adams, who sent an e-mail on behalf of 31 shops and businesses in Lockwood, said the smell coming from the tip had been reported to the authorities months before the fire broke out.

He said: “It was a disaster waiting to happen and the lack of action beforehand and the disappointingly slow response from the council and environment agency to clean up the site means that we now feel that we must file a complaint against the council and the environment agency and ask that both offer a full explanation and assessment of the damage caused to our health.”

Mr Adams said a consultant was to carry out an analysis of the air quality.

The other businesses to sign the letter were: Plumbase, Timber Specialists Ltd, Eastman Staples, Kwik Fit, Magnet Ltd, Calf Hey Design Ltd, Greenwoods Victoria Garage, Lockwood Tyres, Cromptons Healthcare Ltd, Direct Blinds, Kenworth Products, Watermark Plumbing Supplies, Thornton Windows, Jim & Christine’s Café, Atlas Heating Supplies, Spar, Screwfix, Kingsmith Engineering, Mr Flyer, Cubo Moto, RNR Autosport, Eurotyres, Munchies Café, Pet Food Discount Centre Ltd, Chiodo Glass Ltd, Wheel Spin Cycles, AJM Fixings, Brierley Brothers, Huddersfield Gases and HD1 Secure

A spokesman for the Environment Agency confirmed it had received the correspondence from the local businesses and said it would respond to the points raised in the statutory timeframe.

In a joint statement, a spokesman for Kirklees Council and the Environment Agency said: “The Environment Agency and Kirklees Council have responded as quickly and efficiently as possible to the situation at the waste site in Lockwood.

“The Environment Agency has suspended the current licence for incoming waste but waste can be taken off site. The site could only accept non-hazardous waste.

“Kirklees Council’s Cabinet will consider a report on potential next steps for dealing with the waste on site at a meeting on Tuesday.

Kirklees Council’s Environmental Health department continues to monitor the site.

“West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service continues to visit the site four times a day.

“Anyone experiencing respiratory symptoms should contact their GP or ring NHS 111 for advice. If you notice the smoke getting worse please phone the Environment Agency hotline number 0800 807060.”