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Report on Lawrence Fire handed to MP
Updated 7:58am Wednesday 19th March 2014 in News
CAMPAIGNERS have put together a report for Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier to highlight the problems surrounding last year's major blaze at Lawrence Recycling.
Stephen Brown, of Wyre Forest Green Party and Phillip Oliver, of Wyre Forest Friends of the Earth, hope the report into the Lawrence fire, which broke out on June 16 last year, and other similar incidents will help to improve regulation of the recycling industry.
Their report will also be sent to environmental protection groups, to the Friends of the Earth headquarters and the Green Party.
During the Stourport Road blaze, which lasted for seven-and-a-half weeks, campaigners criticised authorities for the lack of testing they carried out.
In the report, Mr Brown said: "There was concern among the public about the health effects. Reassurance that there were no long term effects on health did not ring true. The only advice offered was to keep windows closed and for those with respiratory conditions to take their medication.
"It was only after considerable public pressure, including a petition and lobbying of the local MP, and a well-attended public meeting held in the absence of anything from the authorities, that the agencies involved agreed to monitor persistent organic pollutants such as dioxins and furans."
The report also highlights the cost of the fire to the taxpayer. Mr Brown added: "The Lawrence Recycling fire and its effects shows how unprepared the various agencies were for dealing with this type fire.
"The fact that the fire was allowed to burn for so long was entirely due to the lack of an effective decision making process within the agencies involved.
"Because of this, the costs of putting out the fire not only escalated but it placed the health and wellbeing of local residents at risk and caused severe inconvenience to local business."
The report looks into the wider issues of waste management and the concerns involving the storage of Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) at the Lawrence site.
It also gives three main recommendations that inspections should be improved, legislation should be reviewed and a zero waste policy should be introduced.
Mr Brown added: "The fires have affected public health and wellbeing, not to mention damaging the reputation of the recycling industry with a consequent public mistrust of recycling making it harder for authorities to encourage recycling.
"Large amounts of public money have been spent on tackling the fires and the pollution caused by the fires. There needs to be positive action to reduce the number of fires to very low levels."
It is hoped that the report will be passed on to the Government.
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