St Albans MP’s action on waste recycling fire clear-up

Fire at Wood Recycling Services, Appspond Lane, Potters Crouch

Fire at Wood Recycling Services, Appspond Lane, Potters Crouch - Credit: Archant

WITH a planned clear-up operation on hold since a major fire last year, St Albans MP Anne Main has sought assurances that waste will be removed from an abandoned site at no cost to the taxpayer.

On Monday, Mrs Main met with the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Lord de Mauley, to discuss clearance of the Appspond recycling facility in Potters Crouch.

Around 10,000 tonnes of recycled wood at the Wood Recycling Services (WRS) site in Appspond Lane caught alight last November, leaving a huge bonfire next to the M1 motorway and smoke across local roads for up to two months.

The operators of the WRS site – where there had been other fires in the past – went bankrupt earlier this year and despite a clear-up pledge from company director Simon Lupson, there has been no sign of activity on the site since.

Mrs Main has been closely following the situation since the fire and has been in regular contact with the Environment Agency (EA) and Herts county council.

Her focus has been on ensuring that Appspond is cleared of waste at no cost to the taxpayer and that those who have mismanaged the site cannot continue to do so.

The Appspond site has been run by members of the Lupson family since 1997, under the guise of various different company names. All the companies that have run the site have been served with notices and a member of the Lupson family has previously been prosecuted for environmental offences on the site.

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The EA is also investigating members of the Lupson family for offences on two other sites.

After the meeting with Lord de Mauley, Mrs Main said: “I stressed to the Minister that it was deeply unsatisfactory that ‘cowboy’ operators such as those who have been managing this site can appear to slip in and out of the waste management business with ease.

“The Minister has assured me that as a result of this operation the guidance on who is considered fit to run these waste sites will be tightened up.

“The Environment Agency officials at the meeting assured me that they are pursuing members of the Lupson family and taking legal action against them.”

Expressing the hope that the site would be fully cleared by the landowner with the EA working with them to ensure that it happened in a timely fashion, Mrs Main said she had sought assurances that it would not disrupt the lives of her constituents living around the site.

She added: “This is a Green Belt site being treated like a rubbish dump.

“We must try and eradicate failing operations such as this and ensure that the full force of the law is brought against environmental polluters.

I shall be watching the prosecution of the Lupson family with interest.”