Notts Fire Service have warned that there is ‘serious potential’ for a fifth major fire at Worksop recycling centre, despite the site being currently closed.
The recycling plant, which is operated by Notts Recycling Ltd, had its permit suspended on Tuesday 11th March after the fourth fire to occur there in six months blazed through the site.
The direct causes of the fires are not yet known.
But Worksop Fire Station manager Dick Dawson has warned that the hundreds of tonnes of waste material left on the plant could set alight due to ‘spontaneous combustion.’
He said: “There is serious potential for another fire, if not a bigger fire, due to a large amount of materials being left to decompose on the site.”
“The bacteria slowly breaks down the waste, releasing heat and causing it to ignite.”
“Due to the plant being closed at the moment, there may be less security in place- meaning the fire could spread at a faster rate as there would be nobody there to inform the Fire Service.”
“What we want is to make people aware that the problem is certainly not over yet.”
Mr Dawson added that the Fire Service were doing ‘everything in their power’ to minimise the risk of a fire whether the site re-opens or not.
He said: “We are working very closely with the Environment Agency to guide the directors of the site and help them develop a better practice should the site be re-opened soon.”
“We have no legislative powers over the plant- all we can do is attempt to rectify the problem and keep things as safe as possible for the community.”
The Chief Fire Association released a report on the measures being put in place to combat recycling centre fires on a national level.
The report, which was released on Wednesday 19th of March, outlines the steps being taken to produce a solution and positive change.
Roy Wilsher, operations director of the company,said: “These serious fires can have a huge impact on the local community and environment.”
“We are working with partners across the country to reduce the number of severity of fires as these sites.”
The Environment Agency said: “We have been visiting the centre on a daily basis.”
“Until Notts Recycling Ltd has complied with all the steps it needs to take to reduce the risk of serious pollution from fires, we shall not be lifting the suspension of the permit.”
“Notts Recycling Ltd may only resume the currently suspended waste operations once they have received written confirmation from us that the suspension has been lifted.”