Recycling plant fire - site meeting

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.
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Community leaders and local politicians have been invited to a site meeting tomorrow (Friday) at a New Deer recycling plant where a fire has been smouldering for several months.

Residents are continuing to express concern over the outbreak at Keenan Recycling, which has been burning since June.

The Multi Agency Group dealing with the situation met on Tuesday of last week and declared that there were “no air quality issues” and that the fire would be left to burn itself out undisturbed, although regular monitoring would continue.

The group involves Aberdeenshire Council’s enviromental health team, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Grampian Fire and Rescue Service and NHS Grampian.

From the outset they have said there is no risk to public health from the smoke generated by the deep-seated fire of wood material.

It is understood tomorrow’s site meeting will take the place of a public meeting that had been due next week.

Iain Macaslan, chairman of New Deer Community Association, said: “Everyone wants this sorted, but this has to be sorted safely.

“We were going to have a public meeting on December 18th but instead the site visit will take place.

“The community association, community council, local politicians and representatives from the Multi Agency Group will be there.”

Despite reassurances that the smouldering fire does not pose a health risk, local residents have repeatedly called for action.

Phil Hemsley, who lives near the plant, said that he and his family were still resorting to wearing face masks, depending on which direction the smoke was blowing.

Mr Hemsley, a refrigeration engineer, told the Times: “This has been going on since June and we are fed up of it.

“Six months down the line and there is still smoke coming from the fire.

“Depending on the wind direction, we are still having to wear face masks at times. It’s causing disruption to our family life.”

He has called for the fire to be put out but the authorities say that if it was disturbed it could create more problems.

The company have apologised to local residents for the incident, explaining that they were following the advice of the agencies involved.

A spokesperson for Aberdeenshire Council said after last week’s Multi Agency Group meeting: “Continuous monitoring by the group has shown there are no air quality issues.

“The diminishing amount of material is burning out internally and safely with little in the way of emissions.

“Regular assessments are continuing to be made by Grampian Fire and Rescue Service.”