York & North Yorkshire

Great Heck's burning and smelly rubbish tip to be cleared

The smouldering rubbish
Image caption Villagers in Great Heck have been campaigning to get the huge pile of waste removed

A smouldering and smelly rubbish tip in North Yorkshire is to be cleared incurring "significant costs" for the agencies involved.

Villagers in Great Heck have been campaigning to get the huge pile of waste removed since the firm running the tip collapsed in July.

It is thought there could be more than 10,000 tonnes of rotting rubbish.

It is not known when the site would be cleared but air quality would still to be monitored, said a joint statement.

The Environment Agency, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, Selby District Council and North Yorkshire County Council released the joint statement.

Wagstaff Total Waste Management Ltd, the firm stockpiling mixed recyclable waste at the site, entered voluntary liquidation on 13 July.

It has been estimated disposing of the rubbish tip, near the M62 , could cost £1m in landfill tax.

"There will be a significant cost in doing so, but they [the agencies] will be looking to recover the costs from those responsible", said the statement.

A fire smouldering at the abandoned tip damaged a neighbouring vehicle engineering business on Sunday.

Christopher Dean, the business owner, said the situation was "just an absolute nightmare".

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has said it was attending the site regularly and received "numerous calls" from residents due to flare ups of the deep-seated fire.

Image caption Christopher Dean said "... it's just an absolute nightmare."

"Long-running fires like this cause temporary effects, distress, stress and anxiety, but it's important to understand that the on-going risk to health is likely to be low", said the joint statement.

Public Health England said anyone experiencing respiratory symptoms should contact their GP.

The Environment Agency is currently investigating alleged waste offences and monitoring the odour from the site.

The organisations are working together to co-ordinate the response to the problems caused by the waste site.

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