A 40 foot high rubbish tip in a South East London residential area will remain in place after a High Court ruling earlier this week, which dismissed a demand by the UK’s Environment Agency to clear the site.
The Environment Agency (EA) was seeking contempt of court charges after the company that manages the site missed countless deadlines and ignored injunctions to move the waste. But to the dismay of local residents the judge dismissed the case.
The EA had asked the company Waste4Fuel to remove all combustible waste from the site by May 1st and to install firebreaks in the site, as well as clear separate areas for new waste. None of the demands from the EA were met.
The company released a statement after the case was thrown out by the judge pleading poverty as the reason for their inaction on the issue.
“Without a cash injection, or agreement from the Environment Agency to allow the company to generate further income, we simply cannot afford to make substantial disposals.”
But local residents are not impressed. Some say they haven’t opened their windows since the rubbish tip grew to its current size three years ago and others say the stench of the rotting rubbish is making them physically sick.
One resident, Dennis Clark, whose house is next to the site said he could not believe the High Court had come to their decision.
“The law doesn’t seem to protect people like us. Why doesn’t the judge come down here and see what it’s like for himself. I think parliament need to get involved – the Prime Minister – they are the only people that can help us,” he said, as quoted by local media.
Another resident told RT’s Sara Firth that no one is taking responsibility for the site and the EA are toothless.
“What has happened here is over a number of years you’ve had various firms all changing their name and saying they’re different firms, they’ve been operating under a permit from the Environment Agency, who are the main people who are supposed to police this. But no one has taken decisive enforcement action,” said the resident.
And it’s not just local residents who want something done. The local fire brigade is spending hundreds of thousands of pounds putting out fires caused by the decomposing rubbish.
“Since December 2011 the London Fire brigade has sent over 650 fire engines to 23 separate fires racking up nearly £650,000 ($1,115,172) in resources,” “Since December 2011 the London Fire brigade has sent over 650 fire engines to 23 separate fires racking up nearly £650,000 ($1,115,172) in resources,” RT’s Sara Firth said.
Richard Welch, Bexley Borough fire commander, told local media that none of the fires were suspicious; the result of the heat created from decomposing waste.
“We are doing all we can, working in partnership with the owners and many other agencies to ensure that the issues with this site have minimal impact on the local residents and business community. These fires were not suspicious,” he said.