A joint statement has been released on the Sunderland fire

Fire at Deptford Terrace

5:40pm 16th May 2018
(Updated 8:12pm 16th May 2018)

Firefighters have now been tackling a fire in Sunderland for over 48 hours, with smoke still billowing from site.

The blaze is still burning after first starting on Monday evening.

An investigation's underway into the cause, with the Environment Agency advising locals and passing drivers to keep windows closed.

They and Sunderland City Council have released a joint statement:

 

Joint Statement from the Environment Agency and Sunderland City Council 

"Partners involved in tackling the ongoing fire at the abandoned Alex Smiles waste site in Deptford area of Sunderland are continuing to work together to contain the blaze and work towards a solution for the site.

The Environment Agency, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, Sunderland City Council, Northumbria Police and Public Health England have been responding to the fire since it broke out on Monday evening.

Officers from all the agencies involved are meeting daily to assess and respond to the latest developments and agree a course of action. Environment Agency officers have attended the site to assess any potential environmental impact of the fire, and to give guidance on fire water run-off and air quality

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"Sunderland City Council and the Environment Agency are also carrying out air quality monitoring with equipment set up near the site to monitor the smoke from the fire.

In the long term both organisations are keen to press ahead with their aim of bringing the site back into use.

The privately owned waste site was abandoned when the business went into administration in 2015, leaving behind thousands of tonnes of waste, requiring millions of pounds to safely remove.

This has created a massive financial burden on the public purse which the council and Environment Agency were working together to address by bringing the site back into use with minimal taxpayers’ money. Unfortunately the fire happened before this plan could be put into action.

Although responsibility for the site sits with the former owners’ pension fund which now owns it, both the council and the Environment Agency are committed to continuing to work together to find a creative solution to the problem left behind by the site owners when the business failed.
 

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Get the latest updates on the fire on day 3 here.

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