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Coordinated response to Gateforth waste fire

12th September 2016

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

A waste fire which started over the weekend near Selby will be allowed to burn out in a controlled way to minimise the impact on the local area, following agreement between the organisations involved in the incident.

Letting the waste burn down is the most environmentally responsible way of dealing with the situation.  It would take a significant amount of water to douse the flames which could affect local water courses.

There was around 20m x 40m of waste at the site when it first caught fire; this was waste which had been dumped there illegally over recent weeks.  In the run-up to the fire, Selby District Council had already started an investigation into the illegal fly tipping, and this will continue.  The Council had also been involved in work to mitigate against the environmental health impacts of the dumped waste, with an increase in flies recorded in the area.

Speaking on behalf of the organisations involved, North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service Group Manager, Dave Dryburgh, explained, “We’ve agreed that the best approach is to let the material burn down.  We’ll be doing this in a controlled way to ensure that the impact on local people is minimised.  As part of this process – and with the support offered by our partners - we’ll be spreading out some of the waste on the site to help make this happen as quickly as possible, but bearing in mind the need to minimise smoke from the site”.

Meanwhile, Dr Renu Bindra from Public Health England offered advice to people living in the area, “If you’re affected by the smoke then our advice is to stay indoors if possible and keep your windows and doors closed.  Any smoke can be an irritant so if you need to be outdoors please try to avoid areas affected by the smoke, or limit the time you spend outside.  Smoke can also worsen existing respiratory problems so if you suffer from asthma, please ensure you carry your inhaler.  As always, if you have any health concerns you should seek medical advice or call NHS 111.”

The latest information about the incident can be found here.

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