Specialist equipment will be used today to try to get to the seat of a fire which may have been smouldering at a controversial Huddersfield waste tip for weeks.

Fire crews have remained at the former Hunter Group skip hire site off Queens Mill Road in Lockwood since Tuesday morning after council environmental health officers noticed wisps of smoke coming from the top of a huge pile of shredded waste containing plastic, wood and paper.

It is believed to have started as a result of a build up of heat within the composted waste.

Two jets of water were directed onto the smouldering pile but fire crews are reluctant to use too much water as the run off could pollute a nearby river.

Video thumbnail, Claire Robertson-Dwyer on horror of living nr Hunter Group site
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Fire officers said the new operator of the site has helped by sending a JCB to create a dam to prevent contaminated water from entering the river.

They are concerned to prevent a repeat of a fire several years ago at a waste transfer site at Scout Hill, Dewsbury, which burned for many weeks.

The fire is deep seated so specialist equipment is needed. A digger will be on site today to try to get to the seat of the blaze.

Huddersfield fire station watch commander Darren Bagley said: “We have been keeping a watch at the tip, and the day shift will be doing revisits.

“The Environment Agency and Environmental Health are there as well. They don’t want too much water on it, as the run off could pollute the nearby river.

“They are looking at getting a digger out today and trying to get to the seat of the fire.

“There is very little oxygen getting to it, and it could have been burning for weeks.

“It is so deep seated that it just may not have been noticed.”

Fire crews could be at the site for at least the next 48 hours to make sure it’s not going to spread.

Video thumbnail, Excavators on the waste site off Queens Mill Lane, Huddersfield
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Residents have been calling for several weeks for the site to be cleared.

There are hundreds of tonnes of waste at the tip, which has been described as “a stinking mess.”

One resident said: “It’s disgusting and shocking. If it goes up in flames, it will take a while to put out.”

The Environment Agency, which has staff at the fire scene, is working with the council and the site owner to ensure that he complies with its permit.

Rats in the street and disgusting smells: Lockwood residents on horror of living near mountain of rubbish

Environment Agency officers and council staff have met the new owner. The EA said it needed to give the new owner a reasonable amount of time to “bring the site into compliance” before enforcement was considered.

The fire at the waste site in Scout Hill burned for many weeks. Fire crews were at the scene every day, and the total clean up cost was put at more than half a million pounds.