The London borough of Bromley is set to acquire the land of the former Waste4fuel site in Orpington with the aim of clearing the area, which remains a persistent fire hazard.
The Cornwall Drive site has been under scrutiny from authorities for years, due to the storage of thousands of tonnes of waste and a large number of fires, which led to complaints from local residents and received national media coverage (see letsrecycle.com story).
The council is now set to acquire the site over the coming weeks, subject to the finalisation of the contract and other legal conditions, it announced today (24 August).
The agreement on the site’s ownership has been negotiated between the Government, the Environment Agency and the owner of the site, which is brokered by Bromley council.
Clearance work to remove the hazardous waste will be planned post finalisation, with the Environment Agency securing the funding to safeguard the long term future of the site. This will remove the need for the EA and the London Fire Brigade to continue their regular monitoring and inspection of the site.
The council has said it will need careful assessment of the site to determine the exact extent of the clearance work.
Deputy leader, councillor Colin Smith, commented: “I have said many times, over many months, that Bromley Council would stand by long suffering local residents and get this disgusting heap of rubbish removed and I am absolutely delighted for them all, that we now seem to be on the very cusp of achieving that goal.
“This has not been an easy journey for anybody to put it mildly, involving meetings brokered by Bromley council, with audiences ranging from local residents to Ministers of State, concerning court cases, legal disputes, complications caused by planning law and prolonged negotiations to secure the site’s ownership, but we are now tantalisingly close.”
Cllr Smith added: “I am ever more hopeful that the various legalities will be completed shortly and at that point, ownership of the site will be secured, which will allow us to then focus on beginning the site’s clearance.
“There is work still to do, but once completed, we will then be able to state with absolute certainty that the site will never again be used in this way.”
Andrew Pearce, Environment Agency area manager for Kent and South London, said: “The failure to operate and maintain this site responsibly has meant the Environment Agency and Bromley Council have been left with the task of clearing up this land and protecting local residents from its impacts.
“This is an extreme case and we have worked hard to secure a deal to clean up the site. The Environment Agency is actively pursuing those responsible for depositing waste at the site or who have profited from it.
“We appreciate just how difficult it has been for local residents and we are pleased that it looks like the site can soon be finally cleared.”
Article published on www.letsrecycle.com on 24th August 2016.