Telford & Wrekin Council (TWC) has said that the large fire at the Greenway Polymers (formerly Pink Skips) site is now under control. Firefighters are now “working towards the recover phase”, it says.
In a Newsroom post yesterday, the Borough Council also said that health risks from the smoke “are low”, and no asbestos has been found during monitoring. The Council still recommended that people who can smell the fire should close their windows as a precaution, however.
“The scale of the fire did not meet the air quality monitoring threshold set out by the EA and PHE,” said TWC. “But partners are addressing concerns from affected residents to provide reassurance beyond the usual response.”
TWC’s Leader, Councillor Shaun Davies, said: “Living just minutes from the site, I completely understand residents’ concerns. Faced with the possibility of several months of disruption for residents, businesses, schools and passing traffic on the M54, this was something we deemed unacceptable and felt we could not allow to continue.
“We chose an alternative – to find a way of putting the fire out quickly. With nobody available to pay to put out the fire and clean up the site, we took the decision to contribute £200,000 and will make every effort to recover that cost.
“We have gone above and beyond in our response to this fire to reassure everyone and to bring this to a conclusion as quickly as possible.
“The council obtained air data from the Environment Agency’s ambient air quality monitoring team. This takes readings from a fixed position while our contractor follows the moving smoke plume to take further readings and give us an overall picture on a daily basis.
“It is reassuring to find that, despite the smoke being unpleasant and an inconvenience, the risks to health are low, however because any smoke is an irritant, it is advisable to avoid the smoke if you can and, if indoors, keep doors and windows shut.”
The Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Dan Quin, said: “The additional support from partners means we have been able to dismantle the building quickly and therefore reduce the length of the incident. This minimises the longer term impact of the fire and ensures the safety of firefighters who continue to work tirelessly on site.
“We can confirm that the building – which is metal sheeted with a steel structure and roller shutter doors – does not consist of asbestos-containing material and no materials containing asbestos have been found within the waste on the site.”
Dr Musarrat Afza, Health Protection Consultant with Public Health England (PHE) in the West Midlands, said: “During long-running fires, concentrations of substances in smoke are often below those which pose an immediate risk to health, but may still result in discomfort or temporary health effects. It should be remembered that short-term, temporary effects do not mean that long-term health effects should be expected.
“People with asthma and other respiratory conditions may be particularly susceptible to the smoke and should carry and use their medication (such as inhalers) as usual. If you have any concerns about the smoke’s impact on your health please call your GP surgery for advice, following any instructions for out of hour services, or contact the NHS 111 service (which is free from both landlines and mobiles and open 24/7).”