WORK is to get under way to deal with a fire which has been smouldering at a New Deer recycling centre.
Since the outbreak at the Keenan plant last June, Aberdeenshire Council’s Environmental Health Service, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Grampian Fire and Rescue Service and NHS Grampian have carried out regular monitoring.
The material has been allowed to smoulder undisturbed in the interests of public health and the environment. Monitoring carried out by SEPA indicated there was no significant risk to public health and the amount of smoke generated by the deep-seated fire has decreased over time.
The multi-agency group has decided the material can now begin to be safely tackled. Sections will be removed and allowed to cool with a view to eventually extinguishing the complete pile.
The work will start in the next week or so and residents will be informed by letter. Dust emissions may occur and levels of smoke may also rise temporarily. The company will consider wind direction when undertaking the work to avoid affecting nearby properties.
Multi-agency group chair, Councillor Norman Smith, said: “We are now at a stage where all agencies are in agreement that some of the material can be safely removed from the pile and extinguished.
“We hope it will reassure residents that we are doing all we can to rectify the situation as soon as possible, while ensuring that we protect people’s health and well-being.”
Local resident Phil Hemsley said he was delighted action was finally being taken to deal with the material. He added: “It is good news, although it is disappointing it has taken so long.”
A petition with nearly 500 signatures has been gathered calling for action.