Another MP probes waste industry fire record

An inferno at JL Sorting in Widnes last autumn prompted Halton MP Derek Twigg to quiz environment minister Richard Benyon about how frequent fires within the Recycling industry are.

Mr Benyon revealed that in the years 2001 to 2012 the rate averaged at just under one fire per day at waste and recycling works.  Incidents peaked in 2011 when there were 425 blazes at recycling plants.

Mr Twigg’s question comes hot on the heels of a letter he sent to environment minister Lord De Mauley in which he lashed out at environment regulators over what he claimed was a lack of action in relation to the toxic aftermath of the JL Sorting site.

This week Mr Twigg told the Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News: “As you can see from the answer there seems to have been a lot of fires.  So you are right, there are issues around security and safety.

“I do not know how much is due to arsonists, this will be my next question. The angles I’m coming from are the amount of waste being stored at these sites and the manner in which it is being stored, and whether this is thereby increasing the fire risk.

“Are they recycling quick enough or just storing as much as they can so they get paid more? On the issue of consequences, yes this should be looked at but also how the sites are policed and licensed.”

None of the recycling plants that experienced fires contributing to these figures were fitted with active Fire Sprinkler Systems.

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