Shotley Parish Council Press Release - Ongoing Wood Chippings fire at Harwich

The Parish Council has been informed that this fire started on a five to seven thousand tonne pile of wood chippings which was due to be exported from Harwich International Port. All the relevant authorities have been informed and have been asked to work to a successful conclusion. Fire crews have been working to extinguish the fire and will continue to keep a watch on it but it is expected that this fire may burn, under control, for a few more days yet. 
Following a change in wind direction, parts of the Shotley Peninsula have been directly hit by the smoke. Residents have been contacting Babergh's Environmental Health, the County and District Councils and the Parish Council expressing their concern. Certain areas of Shotley, particularly Shotley Gate, have been severely affected by the hazy, acrid smoke. 
It is thought that wood chippings do not usually contain any toxic fumes but the area has been extremely affected by the acrid and unpleasant smell which has permeated residents’ homes and belongings. It is also a concern for residents with respiratory problems, parents of babies and young children and the elderly. The general advice given by Babergh DC to residents is “to keep windows and doors closed, unless necessary and if anyone experiences breathing difficulties, then to please seek help from a GP or emergency medical services if this becomes severe”.
The most worrying aspect is the suggestion that this could go on for several days and the advice being given to keep doors and windows closed is not just impractical but unrealistic. 
The Parish Council believes more effort should be made to extinguish this fire and do not accept that the only solution is to let it burn out. The Parish Council looks forward to receiving a report from the relevant authorities on what caused this fire, what measures were taken to control it and extinguish it and what preventative steps will be put in place so that this does not happen again. 
Mrs Dina Bedwell, BEd
Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer
Shotley Parish Council
Shotley Parish Council Press Release

By Steven Leach on February 26th, 2014