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Lockwood tip fire: Businesses hit out over 'wall of silence' from Kirklees Council

Group of Lockwood firms demand answers over fumes from former Hunters tip

Julian Hughes
Fire at Hunter skip hire, Queens Mill Road, Huddersfield.

Businesses have been left angry over a wall of silence from Kirklees Council over potentially harmful fumes from a Lockwood tip site.

Firms in and around the abandoned former Hunters tip in Queens Mill Road fear for the health of employees.

Last month the huge waste mountain burst into flames sending plumes of acrid smoke across the area.

Emergency crews told people to keep their doors and windows shut at the time – but since then there has been little advice issued, leaving local people in the dark.

Last week a group of 31 Lockwood businesses – led by Martin Adams, managing director of Wentworth Valve Components Ltd – called for answers from Kirklees over the health risk to employees.

Since the Examiner reported Mr Adams’ concerns another seven companies and organisations have joined the group.

A week on the group are still waiting for answers from the council and Mr Adams said: “We have still not received a response from the council regarding the fire and the risk it poses to our employees.

“We are dismayed at the lack of communication with local businesses regarding the fire.

“All we are requesting is that the council states how long the fire is expected to last and whether the fumes it is producing are hazardous to our health.

“We do not feel that we are being unreasonable to expect such information from the council.”

At a meeting of the council’s Cabinet on Tuesday Clr Naheed Mather, portfolio holder for enforcement, said the council and the Environment Agency had “done as much as we can.”

The Cabinet allocated a sum of money for the clean-up but refused to disclose the figure claiming “commercial confidentiality.”

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

The council said the clean-up would take a “number of months” but Mr Adams said: “There was no detail regarding our queries about the situation.

“We have a duty of care to our employees and we cannot allow them to continue being exposed to an unknown substance.”

Mr Adams said he knew of one firm which had lost a day’s trade because of the fire and warned that “some businesses may wish to pursue compensation from the council.”

Clr Andrew Cooper, Green Party leader on Kirklees Council, has also criticised the council’s handling of the situation and called for improved communication with those affected.

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