Pictures show amazing clean-up operation at former fire-hit Alex Smiles waste site

Work to clear 20,000 tonnes of waste at a burned out former waste site is almost a third complete.

Monday, 10th February 2020, 5:52 pm
Updated Monday, 10th February 2020, 5:53 pm

Over 6,000 tonnes of waste has already been removed from the Deptford site. Operator Alex Smiles went into administration in 2015 and the site was the scene of a major fire in May 2018.

Three to four lorry loads of waste are being removed every hour during the working day, then taken to a waste facility in Tees Valley for disposal.

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How the former Alex Smiles waste site in Deptford now looks after almost a third of the 20,000 tonnes of waste was removed.
How the former Alex Smiles waste site in Deptford now looks after almost a third of the 20,000 tonnes of waste was removed.

Sunderland City Council took possession of the land in December 2019. The work is being carried out by West Yorkshire waste management company Acumen Waste.

Andy Crossley, managing director of Acumen, said: “The clearance is going really well. We've worked hard to clear most of the waste from the piles nearest the entrance to the site.

“This week we're planning to make a start tackling the waste towards the back of the site, some of which could potentially be odorous due to its age.

“We're working closely with the Environment Agency and the City Council to minimise the likelihood of any possible impacts, for example odours, dust, noise or pests on neighbouring homes and businesses.”

How the former Alex Smiles yard in Deptford looked before waste clearance started.

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of the council, said: “It’s fantastic to see the progress being made clearing the site.

“Its been a blight on our city for a number of years and I for one can't wait to see it cleared and transformed into a major manufacturing site for Liebherr.”

Andrew Turner, Environment Agency area environment manager, Regulated Industry, said: “We are happy to see the progress being made with the clearance of the former Alex Smiles waste site.

“This is a very specialist operation as the materials have been in place for over two years and need to be cleared with care.

“The next stage of work may create a situation where the immediate vicinity experiences some odours or increased dust. If residents are at all concerned then they can call the Environment Agency’s incident hotline on 0800 807060.”