Fire-hit recycling firm has environmental permit revoked

Burton Latimer, Blackbridge Farm, fire billowing above Burton Latimer from Cranford road  Wednesday, 12 October 2011
Burton Latimer, Blackbridge Farm, fire billowing above Burton Latimer from Cranford road Wednesday, 12 October 2011
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A waste management firm which was responsible for a fire which blighted skies above the county for a month has seen an appeal against the removal of its environmental permit thrown out.

Think Environmental Ltd ran a bio-drying and waste management centre at Blackbridge Farm, in Cranford Road, Burton Latimer which had two fires. The fires caused smoke concerns to residents and led to the closure of the A6 on one occasion as well as a fish kill on the Alledge Brook.

The second of the two blazes, in October 11, had started when plastic waste material being stored on open ground in contravention of a county council enforcement notice self-heated until it caught fire.

In October 2012 Think Environmental was fined a total of £33,000 and full costs of £15,000 for failing to stop smells from the site and failing to remove illegally buried waste on paddock land next to its permitted site.

Its permit was revoked on 23 May 2013 with steps to remove the remaining waste on site.

An appeal against the revocation has been heard by The Planning Inspectorate.

In upholding the revocation, the inspector Isobel McCretton said: “Given the sustained non-compliance and offending at the site and failure to comply with a raft of enforcement measures, I consider that the Environmental Permit should be revoked.

“The revocation notice was issued after a sustained period of non-compliance with the permit.

“Advice, warnings, other enforcement action, voluntary agreements and Post Conviction Plans all failed to secure removal of the excess waste from the site and the paddock and compliance with the permit conditions.

“There was a repeat pattern of offending with serious impact on health and the environment. There were ongoing environmental problems at the site and the Environment Agency considered that the appellant was likely to re-offend.”