South East Wales

Permit review at A Lewis and Co waste fire site, Nantyglo

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Media captionEnvironment Agency Wales says the site was not storing too much rubbish at the time, but did not meet the high standards expected near homes

A waste site which caught fire and burned for over 10 days failed to meet environmental standards expected near residential areas, says a watchdog.

Environment Agency Wales said it was now reviewing the conditions of the permit at the A Lewis and Co site in Nantyglo, Blaenau Gwent.

But the owner did not breach his licence for the amount of waste stored, said the agency.

The firm said it believed the fire was started deliberately.

Smoke from January's fire caused misery for many residents who complained that the inside of their homes and cars had smelled of smoke.

They also said they were unhappy that the fire had burned for so long.

Some waste that was moved onto nearby council land as firefighters attempted to tackle the blaze has still to be removed.

Rhys Williams, speaking on behalf of A Lewis and Co, said the firm was in discussions with Blaenau Gwent council over who was responsible for the waste, which was now more expensive to remove after becoming waterlogged during efforts to tackle the fire.

"Landfill tax is on weight. When it was on here - let's say there were 400 tonnes of it - that 400 tonnes was soaked and doused by the fire brigade for a week and a half," he said.

"It now weighs twice or three times what it did. Therefore, the financial consequences of that are not of our making."

He told BBC Wales the company had offered to use its trucks to move the waste to another location for disposal.

Arson attacks

Environment Agency Wales said it was in talks with the site's owners but no arrangements had yet been made for the waste's removal.

Mr Williams added he believed the fire was started deliberately and there was an ongoing problem with arson attacks there going back a couple of years.

Some local residents, who did not want to be named, said they had concerns about the way the site was operating before the fire and about when the remaining waste will be cleared.

Environment Agency Wales said it was looking at the conditions of the permit to make sure the operator took action to improve operations.

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