Nick Smith

Working for you in Blaenau Gwent

Communities need to be protected from waste fire hazards, says MP

NICK Smith MP is calling for a clampdown on rogue traders and more power to the regulators to solve a problem that stinks to high heaven.

The Blaenau Gwent MP is leading the debate on fires at waste management sites after first-hand experience in his constituency of a problem he believes has cost England and Wales £32.5m in two years.

Numbers from the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales show that between 2012 and 2013, 661 fires occurred at waste management sites, with 61 of those occurring in Wales.

The Welsh Government have estimated the cost of attending a standard fire at a commercial premises at £49,197, meaning the costs of dealing with this problem have mounted up.

In addition, 595 of the English fires and 58 of the Welsh fires were at private waste sites as opposed to local authority ones.

As a result, Mr Smith in the Westminster Hall debate will call for rogue traders who fail to comply with standards or put their communities at risk to be sanctioned or shut down.

He will also push for good practice to be shared throughout the industry, the Environment Agency to be supported through legislation and an agency to take responsibility for pulling everyone together when fires do occur.

Speaking before the debate, Mr Smith said: “In January 2013 a fire burned for 10 days at a waste management site at Nantyglo.

“It blighted the nearby community, and made lives a misery. It clogged the air, seeped into washing hanging on the line and filled homes and cars with a noxious smell.

“People with respiratory health problems were so concerned they became prisoners in their own homes.

“This is why I’m bringing this case to parliament, to share my experience with other MPs and find solutions to this problem. I’ve seen first-hand the results of a waste fire, and I want to make sure it happens as infrequently as possible.”

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