Stoke & Staffordshire

Rugeley residents angry over 10-day wood fire

Burning waste
Image caption The fire service said it was alerted on 5 September to a controlled fire on the land getting out of control

Residents are angry they have to keep their doors and windows shut 10 days after 1,000 tonnes of waste caught fire on farmland.

Thick smoke has been billowing from the fire in Slitting Mill Road in Rugeley, Staffordshire, since the blaze began on 5 September.

The fire service said a controlled burn was taking place over fears water supplies could be contaminated.

It is not known how long it will take to put the fire out.

More updates on this and other stories in Staffordshire

Image copyright Staffordshire Fire Service
Image caption Fire crews have been trying to remove burnt waste and using soil to smother the fire

Resident Steve Povey said he and others were also concerned about "something toxic" in the air that could affect people's long-term health, including his pregnant daughter.

Alison Shaw, manager of the nearby Horns Inn, said the pub's takings were also down because of the blaze.

"Last week alone we have been down £3,000... we're very angry about it."

MP for Cannock Chase Amanda Milling also said it was "unacceptable" the fire was still burning.

Image caption Using water to put the fire out could damage local water supplies, the Environment Agency says

The fire service said it was informed there was to be a two-hour controlled burn on the land on 5 September, but later received a 999 call to say it had got out of control.

Dermot Hogan, group manager of Staffordshire Fire Service, said he was aware of residents' frustrations.

Crews have been smothering part of the fire with soil, using foam to suppress the smoke and trying to remove burnt waste, he said.

The Environment Agency said there were fears the water run off could contaminate the local watercourse and potentially impact groundwater supplies.

Staffordshire County Council confirmed the land owner was instructed to remove rubbish from the site in June, and has since been served with enforcement notices.

Image caption It is not known when the fire will be out, the fire service said

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites