I have just returned from holiday and am catching up on my emails, it will not surprise you to learn that I have a great number of emails in my inbox about the fire at junction 25. You have asked me a number of questions in this email about the fire and the site in general, I’ll do my best to answer them but there is a complexity underlying the many complaints that residents have about this site.

Junction 25 is a privately owned and run commercial recycling site. It is not run by the council or by the council’s municipal recycling partner the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority (WDA), who are responsible for the operation of the nearby municipal recycling facility operated by the WDA’s contractors Viridor/Laing. The operation of waste and recycling sites is controlled by legislation, regulation and permit restrictions most of which are regulated by the Environment Agency (EA). Any restrictions brought in by the site’s initial planning permission would be regulated by the council’s planning enforcement department. As an employee of the Environment Agency as well as a councillor I am not involved with the regulation of any recycling and waste sites in the Stockport area to ensure that there is no possibility of any conflict of interest arising, therefore I have no special insight into the EAs work with regard to this site.

You asked:

“Why was so much material stored in one place with no fire breaks?”

The amount, type and arrangement of waste that can be stored on the site is limited by a permit which is regulated by the EA. If a site was to breach their permit by storing excess material on site the EA can require them to move material under threat of prosecution or suspension of permit.

“How toxic is the smoke and air downwind from the fire?” and “If much of this material burnt is plastic then has it released dioxins into the atmosphere?”

The Fire and Rescue service may be best placed to answer these questions they are the lead agency in tacking the fire and will know more about the risks from the smoke and the materials that are involved. I would strongly urge residents to take the advice issued by the fire service.

“How many people have required medical treatment for breathing difficulties, heart problems etc. as a consequence of this fire?”

I don’t know, this is not information that the council is likely to hold, I’ll ask council officers to make enquiries with the local NHS to see if they can give us this information.

“How will the fire affect Stockport Council’s recycling and waste collection services?”

I am not aware of any impact on Council collection services. The only way it could possibly affect the council’s collection services is if access to the WDA site at Bredbury was restricted.

What action will be taken against the company responsible for this recycling site?”

This is a matter for the EA.

“How will the people of Bredbury and Tameside be compensated for being on the receiving end of this most uncomfortable and potentially hazardous pollution?”

I do not know of any compensation mechanism other than through civil lawsuits against the the company that operates the site.

“How can you prevent this happening again?”

The Council does what it can to assist the EA in their work regulating this site, because it is aware of the high levels of public concern. But the Council’s ability to contribute is limited by restrictions within the legislation. The task of trying to ensure that this site operates correctly falls to the EA.

Stuart Bodsworth