AN investigation is to be held after a pile of plastic was burnt sending up plumes of potentially dangerous smoke.

Andy, 55, of Tabor Close, Brightlingsea, was on his way to play golf in Clacton when he said he was overcome by a strong smell.

He realised a fire had started at the Eastern Waste Disposal site in Morses Lane and rushed to see what was going on.

He says he saw a large pile of plastic which was on fire, but was being extinguished by a employee who was not using any breathing equipment.

“When I arrived, there were not many flames, but I sat there and videoed it in my van because I could hardly breath,” said Andy.

“The smell was horrendous and there was a lot of smoke, but there was a guy sitting in a digger with a hose pipe attached to it trying to put it out.

“He had no breathing apparatus – this should have been a job for the fire brigade, not him.”


Andy says the pile of plastic at the recycling centre has increased in size and a few days later it appeared to be smoking once again.

He now fears what could happen if the piles of plastic continue to be set alight either on purpose or by accident.

He fears residents would possibly have to leave the area to escape potentially-toxic fumes.

“It is a health hazard waiting to happen because sometimes it can get overheated in there,” he added.

“What happens if it happens again?

“You would surely have to evacuate people out of the town because of the fumes.

“I have called Environment Agency asking them to do something to stop the potential of another fire.

“The big concern is the smell because it is a toxic smell.”

The Environment Agency said it is looking into the incidents and anyone with concerns has been urged to contact them.

A spokesman said: “A permitted site that accepts combustible waste is expected to have rigorous procedures in place to ensure the risk of fire is minimised and appropriate action is taken were a fire to happen.

“This incident was not reported to us at the time, however, we will be following up with the operator by visiting the site to check compliance and discuss waste management procedures.

“We encourage anyone who sees an incident that could impact the environment to call our 24 hour incident hotline on 0800 807060.”

Eastern Waste Disposal was contacted for comment last Thursday but had not responded at the time of going to print.