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Pollution from Sherburn in Elmet Tyre Fire at 'Harmless' Levels

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8:47am 29th January 2014

Emergency services and partner agencies continue to work together to ensure the large tyre fire at Newgen recycling plant in Sherburn in Elmet remains under control and pollution is kept to a minimum.  

A number of agencies including North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, North Yorkshire Police, the Met Office, the Environment Agency, Public Health England, Selby District Council, North Yorkshire County Council, the NHS, Yorkshire Water, Northern Power Grid and Network Rail meet daily to monitor the situation and ensure that everything is being done to keep disruption to members of the public to a minimum.

In order to control the amount of air, water and ground pollution, a decision has been made to allow the fire to burn out.

This is the best way to deal with such a fire and was decided following discussions between North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, the Environment Agency and other agencies.

Peter Hudson, Group Manager for North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, said: “At the moment the smoke is dissipating over a wide area and any pollution is being diluted to harmless levels, reducing the impact on the environment. This tactic will also reduce the amount of waste that needs to be removed when the fire is out."

“If the fire service were to try and put the fire out, it would require at least a week spent pouring millions of litres of water on to the fire. This would carry away contamination to water courses, underground water systems and concentrate high levels of pollution in the surrounding area whilst being difficult to monitor."

“It would also require the disturbance and turning over of the material on fire, resulting in particulates being blown in to the air and adding to the air pollution."

“The larger amounts of sludge and partially burnt tyres would then have to be disposed of elsewhere, depositing significant amounts of pollution and contaminated water which would run off the waste.”

Security is in place at the site and North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service remain on hand to monitor the situation with support from North Yorkshire Police and other partner agencies.

Wind directions continue to change throughout the day which affects the direction of the plume.

The advice to residents is to go about their daily business but if they are affected by the direction of the smoke plume, they are advised to follow the usual advice and stay indoors with their windows and doors closed.  

If anyone is concerned about the effects of the smoke on their health, please contact your GP or call the NHS on 111 without delay.

The Food Standards Agency have also advised that there are no toxicological concerns over food or crops which may have smoke residue on them.

The joint investigation by North Yorkshire Police and North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, with support from other agencies, is continuing.

A 51-year-old local man has been arrested in connection with the investigation. Following questioning he was released on police bail pending further enquiries.

Anyone with information that could assist the investigation is urged to contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 2, and ask for York CID. Or email Sinead.Brocken@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk

Information can also be passed on anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Please quote reference number 12140008472 when providing details about this incident.


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