Wood pile fire still smouldering months later in North Runcton

Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, King's Court Hq, Chapel Street King's Lynn
Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, King's Court Hq, Chapel Street King's Lynn

Residents in North Runcton are still dealing with the aftereffects of a fire which started in January, West Norfolk Council has revealed.

Although the blaze at the waste timber yard at Manor Farm has reduced “significantly” in size and height in the past eight months or so, the wood pile is believed to still be smouldering in two places.

In a statement posted on the West Norfolk Council website, officials said, since the fire started, a multi-agency recovery group has continued to meet to assess the situation, and council staff have completed a “detailed site walk-over” and collected various ash and clinker samples.

“What this has told us is that the smoke and odour coming from the site has decreased but some local residents are still being affected,” the statement adds.

“We reviewed whether work should be done to increase the burn rate or extinguish the smouldering areas, but it was determined that this may lead to dust, ash, odour and water emissions that would significantly affect the local area.”

Analysis of samples are set to be taken prior to a contaminated land investigation – the report for which is expected to be available to the public later this month.

Council officials have also issued further health advice to those living close to the site.

“Anyone with health concerns is advised to contact their GP or contact the NHS 111 service out-of-hours. It is still recommended that you keep doors and windows closed if there is a detectable smoke odour outside your property.”

The statement adds: “This site is an illegal waste site and has no environmental permit from the Environment Agency or planning permission authorising the waste activities (including storage) taking place.

“The occupier has been subject to a joint prosecution between the Environment Agency for waste offences and Norfolk County Council for breaches of planning law.

“The occupier pleaded guilty and was directed by Norwich Crown Court to remove waste from the site with an emphasis on clearing the waste wood as a priority.

“The occupier has failed to remove the waste and was given a 15-month custodial sentence on March 17, 2016, and has recently been released from prison.”

The fire is now contained, and there is minimal risk of it spreading, however, officials say it is not practical to extinguish it with water or foam as it would be ineffective.