THE Environment Agency says its officers are still considering legal papers almost a year on from a hugely expensive Dewsbury fire.
Crews were called to the smouldering Hinchcliffe Bros Scout Hill Waste Transfer Facility on February 7 – little knowing many of them would be there almost a month later as part of a hugely time-consuming damping-down operation.
The site was functioning well above its permitted waste levels and the clean-up operation at the site flushed out a number of rats which were reported in the surrounding area.
The site had been run by Roy Hinchcliffe, of Mirfield, for several years.
A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency said: “Mr Hinchcliffe was served with a suspension notice because he had gone over the amount of waste on site that was permitted.
“There is still more than he is allowed on the site but there is no more waste being brought on.
“We are still in talks with him and we’re trying to get it down to an amount that corresponds with his permits. We’ve completed our investigation into the site and the papers are with our legal team so we’ll be making a decision about enforcement action against him.”
The end of new waste deliveries at the site was welcomed by George Wilson, director at the adjacent GW Fibres.
He said: “The smell that we thought would be prevalent has subsided. We’ve learned to live with an eyesore, it’s a massive pile of rubbish but it’s not causing undue problems.
“The site is dormant as no one is coming into the yard to leave more rubbish and the rat problem doesn’t appear to have materialised. At the time of the fire there was an infestation but the lack of food may have accounted for them.”
Typically three fire engines and an aerial appliance attended the site every day, tying up hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of equipment and creating an arduous work environment.
Fire experts decided they could not afford to let the fire burn itself out due to the proximity of local houses and industrial premises.
The Environment Agency and Kirklees Council teamed up to bring heavy lifting equipment to the site to move some of the rubbish, and an unsafe structure on the site had to be demolished.