Residents and councillor express concerns over waste fire at Fen Lane, Long Bennington near Grantham with firefighters still working tirelessly to extinguish the blaze
Firefighters are continuing to work tirelessly to extinguish a waste fire that broke out on Tuesday.
Residents of Long Bennington near Grantham raised health concerns following the fire in Fen Lane, with a local councillor calling the situation a "tragedy".
Firefighters were called to the incident at 2.08am on Tuesday, with nearby residents still being advised to keep windows and doors closed where possible due to the large amount of smoke in the area.
In May 2020, two arrests were made and an excavator and a lorry were seized by the Environment Agency after intelligence revealed that lorry-loads of waste, including plastics, were being accepted onto the site and burned illegally.
Rod Pollexfin, of Fen Lane, Long Bennington, said he was fuming that toxic fumes continued to come from the waste site.
"It has been happening since 2017, and that is why we are all bloody fuming," he said.
"It is frustrating that it can even get to this point. It is not like nobody knows that this is happening.
"It hasn't happened on this scale before because it looks like the whole site has gone up.
"It has gone as far as the A1 towards Fernwood."
Lincolnshire county councillor, Alexander Maughan, whose ward covers Long Bennington, was made aware of the issue back in 2018 and alerted the county council.
In October that year, the then-operators were informed by LCC that they had six months to clear the site as permission would not be granted for waste activities at that location.
From that point onwards, the county council and Environment Agency continued to carry out unannounced inspections on the site.
Coun Maughan said: "Activities continued and then local MP Dr Caroline Johnson became involved in 2019 and she was quite instrumental in pushing for the EA to take legal action."
The site was then raided in May 2020, with two arrests made and a court restriction order and waste removal orders issued on the site. The latter was appealed by the land owner, with a hearing due to take place on October 8.
Following the raids, the EA blocked the entrance to the site and continued to make inspections.
Coun Maughan continued: “I completely agree with the residents that the wheels of justice have turned very slowly in this instance and this has gone on for too long and it is unacceptable.
“We’ve been doing all we can, the country council and SKDC as well have been doing what they can to support the EA.
“It is a tragedy that these operations have continued for so long and residents are now faced with yet another large fire on the site."
Coun Maughan organised a meeting this afternoon with residents of Fen Lane and representatives from Lincs Fire & Rescue to give residents an update on the response to the fire.
He also confirmed that there was no indication yet on how the fire started, with investigations still ongoing.
A fire service spokesperson said: "We still have crews on scene dealing with this fire. We are working with our partner agencies to tackle the fire effectively while reducing any environmental impacts, for example from water run-off.
"We anticipate we will still be in attendance for the remainder of the week and would like to remind local residents to keep their doors and windows closed and members of the public to avoid the area if possible."
An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “We are working as part of a multi-agency response at the scene of the fire in Fen Lane, Long Bennington.
"Our officers will remain on site for the next few days to carry out checks and gather information for our investigation.”