Monitoring of recycling plant fire continues

The fire in a pile of wood material at Keenan Recycling's plant at New Deer has been smouldering for several weeks.
The fire in a pile of wood material at Keenan Recycling's plant at New Deer has been smouldering for several weeks.

RESIDENTS have stepped up their calls for action over a fire which has been smouldering for several weeks at an Aberdeenshire recycling plant.

The outbreak at the Keenan Recycling site at New Deer is being monitored by the council’s environmental health team, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Grampian Fire and Rescue Service and NHS Grampian.

A multi-agency meeting last month decided to leave the burning wood material untouched. Monitoring work carried out by SEPA, and assessed by NHS Grampian, indicated there was no risk to public health from the smoke generated by the deep-seated fire.

Latest monitoring has revealed that the extent of the problem is reducing.

But local resident Phil Hemsley said he wants the fire put out. Mr Hemsley, a refrigeration engineer, said it had been burning since the end of June and he and his family had taken to wearing face masks at the height of it when the wind had blown the fumes towards their property.

He added: “It’s been giving us problems for several weeks now and I would like the fire to be put out. We are being told by SEPA and health officials that there is no risk but they won’t let us see the information.”

Mel Keenan, chairman of Keenan Recycling, said the company was extremely sorry that the incident had arisen and they were following the advice from the agencies involved.

He told the Times they had been advised that if the fire was disturbed it could create more problems.

Mr Keenan said the plant had been operating efficiently for 11 years and had received a number of awards in that time.

An Aberdeenshire Council spokeswoman said: “The smoke has reduced considerably and there is little beyond the site boundaries but there is still an odour in the area. The pile has not yet burned down to a stage where it can be extinguished safely and without risk to the environment. Agencies will continue to monitor the situation.”