Posted: Sun 24th Jan 2021

Politicians call for assurances over future operations at landfill site after investigation into a huge fire concludes for people living in or visiting the wrexham area

Two local politicians are demanding assurances over future operations at a landfill site in Wrexham after an investigation into a huge fire was concluded.

Clwyd South MS Ken Skates and Johnstown councillor David Bithell held talks with senior Natural Resources Wales officers after the blaze at Hafod Quarry in late May, calling for a full inquiry to take place and for the site not to resume operations until it had concluded.

The local representatives maintained regular contact with the regulator on behalf of residents, providing updates to the community and publishing NRW’s responses to a series of questions.

They have now issued a further joint statement following the conclusion of the investigation this week, which found no evidence to suggest that site operator Enovert’s actions caused the fire.

Ken Skates MS and Cllr David Bithell said: “NRW is an independent regulator and we must respect the findings of the investigation.

“However, many local residents contacted us about this at the time and they will be disappointed with this outcome considering the seriousness of the incident and previous complaints about the site. A warning letter to Enovert will offer little comfort to them.

“The investigation did identify that improvements are needed in relation to the application of landfill cover materials, which led to a non-compliance of the permit. Enovert has been notified of this breach and will be required to complete a number of corrective actions to secure compliance with the permit going forward.

“Last year, after the fire, we made our position clear – we wanted to see tightened monitoring and we, like the local residents we represent, wanted action to reassure people that their concerns are being heard and addressed.

“The community now desperately needs reassurances from NRW, as the regulatory body, that all necessary mitigation measures are put into place as soon as possible – and that this will be published and communicated to them. At the very least, residents living nearby must have a clear and unequivocal assurance that the site is operating within its environmental permit.

“NRW has agreed to provide a fuller update to the liaison committee which will further explain what was concluded in the investigation, what further action Enovert will be required to take and how the site will operate in the future. We look forward to more detail being published.”

In a statement, Mark Silvester, CEO of Enovert, said: “I confirm we have received a Warning Letter issued by NRW following the fire that occurred at our Hafod Landfill Site last year.

“The findings of NRW’s investigation concur with those of our own completed in June 2020 following which the Company took immediate steps to implement a series of improvements ensuring continued compliance with its environmental permit.

“We again offer our apologies to the local community impacted at the time and thank the North Wales Fire Service for attending the incident.”

Enovert will now formally respond in writing to NRW confirming the actions the Company has already taken and agreeing timescales for completion of the further actions required following issue of the warning.

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