2014 update: Please note that this page, along with many on the site was originally written in 2009 and some of the effects of the landfill have changed in that time. RATS have decided to leave it as it is though as an archived record of what the people of Houghton-le-Spring have suffered over the years.
There have been various fires at the tip including one in 1999, which took the Fire Brigade two whole days to put out. It doesn't take a genius to work out what this could have done to the plastic liner.
Since then, there have been two more fires that we know about and possibly more than that.
It doesn't bear thinking about all the particles that could be travelling into the air with the smoke from these fires. With all the industrial waste that the tip is allowed to accept, there could be serious health risks associated with fires.
Each time there has been a fire, Biffa and the Environment Agency have stated that the fire was caused by intruders. These intruders must be masters of stealth, considering that the site is supposedly monitored by CCTV and a security patrol! Also, none of these serious offences of trespass and arson have ever been reported to the police!
Here are some pictures from the most recent fire that we know about, which happened on Saturday 28 February 2009.
Here we can see the smoke from the fire blowing over the A690. Imagine how dangerous that would have been if the fire was closer to the road! If the wind had been blowing in a different direction, the residents of Newbottle or Grasswell would have had this smoke instead.
Several firemen at the scene. I wonder if they're aware of all the "non toxic" waste that could be burning beneath them like the asbestos, lead, arsenic and chromium - not to mention all that combustible landfill gas!