New Deer fire summit

Phil Hemsley's house is situated near to the plant.
Phil Hemsley's house is situated near to the plant.

A public meeting will be held tonight (Thursday) to discuss the fire at a New Deer recycling facility which was finally put out after smouldering for several months.

Aberdeenshire Council and the other agencies involved in handling the outbreak at the Keenan Recycling Centre at New Deer will attend to answer questions from the audience.

The meeting will focus on the fire and the steps which have been taken to prevent a recurrence of the situation. It will be chaired by local Councillor Norman Smith.

Each agency, including SEPA, the fire service and NHS Grampian, will give a brief summary of their role and involvement in the incident and their future role with regard to the site.

The fire broke out in June last year, and a multi-agency group was established to carry out regular monitoring of the site.

The material was allowed to continue to smoulder undisturbed in the interests of public health and the environment until February, when it was decided the pile could be safely tackled following an on-site meeting and risk assessment.

Steps have been taken to prevent a recurrence of the incident, including changes to the composting process, while a liaison group, consisting of the various agencies and local residents has also been set up to further consider various issues such as the future management of materials.

Phil Hemsley, who lives near the recycling plant, said New Deer and District Action Group had a list of questions tabled for the meeting.

He added: “We don’t want anything like this happening again.

“It is important that the authorities put in place some sort of protection for the general public for any future problems that could occur.”

A petition signed by around 600 people in the New Deer area was launched in January calling for action from the authorities over the outbreak.

The public meeting will be in New Deer Public Hall from 7.30pm on Thursday.