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Last 9,000 tonnes of ‘disgraceful mess’ at Waste4Fuel site set to be removed, but only when government hands out £1.88million

PUBLISHED: 09:05 24 July 2017 | UPDATED: 09:49 25 July 2017

Waste4Fuel's clearance began in November. Photo credit: Jack Thornton.

Waste4Fuel's clearance began in November. Photo credit: Jack Thornton.

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Wrok began to clear the site in November

Hopes of clearing the final third of the Waste4Fuel site now hinge on government funding, after the council gave final approval to clear what is left of the site on Wednesday.

Work began to clear the 27,000-tonne heap in Orpington, near the Sidcup Bypass, in November last year, with hopes the landfill would be empty by April.

But the discovery of contaminated material in March meant work had to be halted so combusted and melted plastics, along with other carbon-based materials could be disposed of in “a more carefully managed way”.

The revised plan has brought the overall spend on clearing the site up to £4.589million, after original estimates put the overall spend of acquiring and clearing the site at £2.7million, shared between Bromley council and the Environment Agency.

The council’s overall contribution is expected to be around £572,608 under these new works.

On Wednesday, councillors agreed clearance work could start again once the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs forks out the extra £1.88million.

“The council has stuck at this determinedly for many months and we have suffered some considerable disappointments along the way,” said council leader Colin Smith.

“We pledged from the outset to clear the disgraceful mess away and effect an agreeable outcome for local residents and that promise is thankfully and finally now within touching distance of being delivered.”

Around 18,000 tonnes has already been shifted from the land on Cornwall Drive, which had been the council’s estimate for the whole heap before work began.

Cllr Smith expects to confirm the final clearance date “shortly”, with work expected to last around two months, once waste management contractor Veolia gets on site.

He added: “This will be fantastic news for everyone, especially those long suffering nearby residents who I continue to be grateful to for their amazing support, patience and understanding.”

We have approached Defra for comment.

Old Bexley and Sidcup MP James Brokenshire added: “The rubbish mountain at Waste4Fuel has been a blot on the landscape for far too long as well as causing untold problems for local people. I hope this work will be completed quickly.

“Looking to the future however, it is important to see that this never happens again. To that end, I am arranging to meet the Environment Agency to discuss what further steps are needed to prevent what amounts to licensed fly tipping from causing misery to other residents in the future.”

A Defra spokesperson said: “We are working closely with Bromley council to help them clear the entire site of hazardous waste as soon as possible.”

Defra declined to give a specific timeframe on when the money would be sent to the council.

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