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Residents celebrate as trucks move in to clear Orpington waste mountain

PUBLISHED: 09:32 02 November 2016

Waste4Fuel's clearance began on Tuesday. Photo credit: Jack Thornton.

Waste4Fuel's clearance began on Tuesday. Photo credit: Jack Thornton.

Archant

The news marks the beginning of the end for the much-maligned rubbish heap

Clearance of the Waste4Fuel rubbish mountain in Orpington began yesterday, marking the beginning of the end of the eyesore that has blighted residents’ lives with fires, vermin, congestion and air pollution.

The first trucks began to remove waste from the site following Bromley Council’s acquisition of the land in September - five years after rubbish started to pile up at the site.

Removal of the waste is expected to take around 20 weeks to complete, with work taking place throughout the week from Monday to Saturday.

Residents’ groups celebrated the news and called for the site to be turned into an amenity for the local community.

Paul Laundy, secretary of Sidcup Community Group, said: “Whilst residents are celebrating the final closure of this protracted issue, it is a sobering fact that the fight and suffering has been going on for the best part of five years.

“We refer to this waste tip as a farce but many refer to it as an utter disgrace and a scam.

“Repeated attempts to establish whether any fuel was generated from the dumped waste have been unsuccessful. Meanwhile the stench has been unremitting and the sound and strobe lights of emergency vehicles attending the site at all hours have frightened many.

“It is difficult to describe just how much effort has been devoted by residents’ associations to draw this matter to a conclusion and this determination remains to ensure that this farce is never again repeated, that the site is cleared as quickly as possible and that the land in question which was stolen from the Green Belt is returned to a suitable and sustainable role which will complement rather than endanger the adjacent lakes.”

Andy Wilson, chairman of Chislewick residents’ association CRA20ten in Cray Valley West, commented: “It has been a hard time for local people and there have been times when it seemed it would never end. Our views on the cowboy leaseholders who caused it are unprintable and we hope that the law comes down on them heavily.

“In the slightly longer term we look forward to having some form of amenity on the site to complement the adjacent lake which is already recognised as a site of scientific interest. This is an opportunity to turn a horror story into one with a great ending for local people.”

The cost of purchasing the land and removing the rubbish is estimated to be in the region of £2.7 million, with the Environment Agency securing much of the funding and the council contributing £300,000 to secure the ownership of the site.

Waste will be sorted to ensure as much as possible is recycled, while measures will be taken to minimise the risk from dust, litter and smells.

The council’s waste and recycling partner Veolia said it will endeavour to minimise the disruption to traffic as clearance works proceed.

Bromley lead councillor Stephen Carr said: “We are committed to removing this eyesore as quickly as we can with the minimum of fuss and inconvenience to local residents.

“So many peoples’ lives have been affected by this for so long but today marks a new beginning and I am optimistic for the future.”

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