MP to challenge ministers over Thrunton fire

The scene at Thrunton last year.
The scene at Thrunton last year.

Sir Alan Beith MP has secured a debate in Parliament to look at the consequences of the fire at the Blackwater North East carpet recycling business at Thrunton.

The fire, which broke out in early September 2013 at the former Swarland Brickworks site, led to serious problems for neighbouring residents due to the smoke which continued for over five months.

The main part of the fire was in carpet bales outside the buildings being used for storage and that part of the fire has now been extinguished.

The fire inside the building, which has partially collapsed, continued to burn but with little smoke. It is under control.

Sir Alan said: “This fire should never have happened. Blackwater North East had been reported to the Environment Agency on numerous occasions for various breaches of its operating permit, including storing material for recycling outside the permitted area and in excess quantities.

“The residents and the landowner have all had to put up with months of disruption and fears about the long-term effects of the smoke on their health, as well as the potential risk of contamination of the private water supply which the properties at Thrunton rely on.

“The landowner, Chris Blythe, has worked tirelessly to manage the fire and it is down to his efforts that the main part of the fire has been extinguished.

“What matters now is that the burnt material is removed from the site, where I feel it is still a threat to the water supply, and that the residents can put this experience behind them and get their lives back.

“I will be challenging the Minister over the responsibility for cleaning up the site and action against the company responsible in view of the long history the recycling company had of not complying with operating conditions imposed by the Environment Agency.”