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Minister confirms investigation into other potential hazards after Fforestfach tyre fire

August 25, 2011 9:24 AM

The Welsh Environment Minister has confirmed in a letter to Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member, Peter Black, that the Environment Agency has started a review of sites across Wales that may present a similar fire risk to the recent conflagration on the Fforestfach Industrial Estate in Swansea.

Up to 5,000 tonnes of shredded tyre waste on the old Mettoy site in Fforestfach took 23 days to put out at a projected cost to the local Council of £1.5 million after it caught fire on 16 June this year. The fire caused traffic chaos in the City, whilst an investigation has got underway into possible health effects on the local population.

The Minister writes that the Environment Agency review will involve a proactive programme of visits to identify and mitigate potential risks in partnership with the Police and the Fire and Rescue Service. He says that it will take between two and three months to complete the initial visits.

"This is the first official admission that the Environment Agency has a list of hazardous sites, which I believe included the Fforestfach fire factory," said Peter Black. "What is disturbing is that although there was clearly some monitoring of the sites this appeared to be very much a paper exercise. It took a massive and disruptive fire to get the Environment Agency to sit up and take action to ensure that the sites are secure and do not pose a risk to the public."

"I am pleased that action is now being taken but a three month work programme now does not inspire much confidence in the future security of these sites. It all seems to be too little too late. I will be writing back to the Minister to ask him to provide more details about the long term security of these sites and what action is being taken to ensure that the hazardous material dumped on them is being properly and safely disposed of."