'Serious concerns' over smoke from tyre plant fire

The fire at Murfitts in Lakenheath caused a big plume of black smoke to rise into the air

The fire at Murfitts in Lakenheath caused a big plume of black smoke to rise into the air - Credit: Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service

Calls have been made for the Environment Agency to explore the cause of a fire that released masses of black smoke into the air.

The large blaze at the Murfitts tyre recycling plant in Lakenheath on Saturday, January 30, led to concerns over the environmental impact, as the site is near RSPB Lakenheath Fen reserve.

When fire crews arrived at the site in Station Road about 40 tonnes of shredded tyre waste was well alight, with a thick plume of black smoke overhead.

The Murfitts fire captured by Brandon firefighters

The Murfitts fire captured by Brandon firefighters - Credit: Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service

As well as concerns over the environment, fears were expressed about the impact of the fumes on populated areas.

It is understood the smoke dissipated later in the day after the blaze began at about 8.45am.

A fire at Murfitts Tyre Recycling Centre in Lakenheath is brought under control. The smoke comtinues

A fire at Murfitts Tyre Recycling Centre in Lakenheath is brought under control. The smoke comtinues to fill the air though covering the nearby RSPB Lakenheath Fen. - Credit: Sonya Duncan


You may also want to watch:


A spokesperson for Murfitts said: “We thank the fire service for their prompt response to the incident at our site.

"As the largest tyre recycler in the UK, we have invested significantly in safety processes and training.

Most Read

"As a result our team followed our strict protocols which were instrumental in bringing the fire under control within an hour.

"At no point was anyone in any danger but we are carrying out a full investigation into the cause of the fire. In the meantime, the site has been given the all clear by the fire service to recommence operations.”

Lesley Randall, chairperson of Hockwold cum Wilton Parish Council, said: "There are serious concerns for public health if the smoke continues for any length of time or directs itself towards the nearby populated areas.

"There are also concerns regarding the environmental impact, particularly due to the proximity of the Little Ouse river and the RSPB Lakenheath (a popular venue for daily exercise during lockdown) which has already advised people to stay away from the area because of the fire.

"It is hoped that the Environment Agency will look into the cause of the fire and its possible negative impact on the surrounding area."

The scale of the fire meant about 14 crews were involved in tackling it, with it being brought under control by 7.35pm.

A farmer captured this footage of a large fire at Murfitts Industries Ltd in Lakenheath

A farmer captured this footage of a large fire at Murfitts Industries Ltd in Lakenheath. This is a screenshot of the video - Credit: Charles Smith

District councillor Stephen Frost, who represents Lakenheath, was among those to express worries over the smoke.

In this image by Brandon firefighters you can clearly see the black smoke

In this image by Brandon firefighters you can clearly see the black smoke - Credit: Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service

He added: "Accidents happen. When accidents happen, it's what you do to mitigate and put things right. My main concern was people's health and the wildlife up there."

On Saturday, district councillor Brian Harvey, chairman of West Suffolk Council, was trying to alert people to the spreading smoke. 

A fire at Murfitts Tyre Recycling Centre in Lakenheath is brought under control. The smoke comtinues

Murfitts relocated to Lakenheath 11 years ago - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Murfitts relocated to Lakenheath 11 years ago after a major fire at Littleport, near Ely.

The company retained the Littleport site, but it never again became operational.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus