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Firm hit by fire had been told to move waste; Crews still damping down at factory, days after blaze.

Byline: STEVE BAGNALL @DPWREXNEWS

ENVIRONMENT chiefs ordered a fuel company to move waste at a warehouse months before it erupted into flames it has emerged.

Firefighters were yesterday still damping down the huge blaze at the industrial building on the site of Lancashire Fuels 4 U in River Lane, Saltney, which broke out on Tuesday.

At the height of the flames, which ripped through the roof of the unit resulting in thick black smoke billowing into the sky, around 30 firefighters from eight crews were at the scene.

The warehouse was storing tonnes of recycled waste.

Now Natural Resources Wales chiefs have confirmed they issued a notice to remove the waste, which was being contested by the company. David Powell, Environment Manager, Natural Resources Wales said: "Natural Resources Wales issued Lancashire Fuels 4 U with a notice to remove waste from their site at River Lane, Saltney in December last year.

"The company has appealed against the notice and legal proceedings are ongoing.

"We received an application for an environmental permit from Lancashire Fuels 4 U in January 2014 to turn the waste into biomass fuel but this application is still under assessment and no environmental permit has been issued."

NRW officers also remained on site over the weekend to monitor if there was any impact on the River Dee.

The fire service had warned dealing with the aftermath of the fire could be a "lengthy process" due to the quantity of material involved.

An investigation into the cause of the blaze is expected to start once the incident is over.

Mechanical diggers have been used to drag waste from the building.

Firefighters pumped water from the River Dee to deal with the fire and damp down the building, which was left heavily damaged.

Lancashire Fuels 4 U Ltd had a planning application to turn recycled waste into biomass fuel granted by Flintshire Council last month, although they require a permit from NRW before the process can begin. The company arrived at the old Bostik's plant at the end of last year and began bringing in a "substantial amount" of waste material with the local authority receiving "a few odour complaints", according to the council report to the planning committee.

Public Health Wales said it does not expect people living near to the fire to be exposed to smoke at levels that pose an "elevated health risk".

On its website Lancashire Fuels 4 U describes itself as: "Leaders in high calorific biomass solid fuel generation, from sustainable sources, that do not require the felling of trees, which can no longer be considered a sustainable resource."

The Daily Post made repeated attempts to contact Lancashire Fuels but have been met with an answer phone message stating that the "office is unattended at present".

stevebagnall@dailypost.co.uk

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Fire crews tackle blaze at Lancashire Fuels 4 U in River Lane, Saltney
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 26, 2014
Words:481
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