Norfolk news – Public Health Risk from Illegal Storage

Councils and emergency services around King’s Lynn are currently drawing up emergency plans to deal with the major health risk posed by the mass illegal storage of tyres. A tenant of the Hardwick Estate had secured permission to store up to 1,000 tyres on the site, but a recent report has revealed that there are now as many as 140,000 tyres being stored there.


The public health risk posed by such illegal storage is vast. Should the tyres catch fire, such hazardous pollutants as sulphur dioxide, acrolein and hydrogen chloride would be released. As well as those with heart and lung conditions, the young and the old would be at particular risk – a particular concern due to the close proximity of King’s Lynn Academy and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.


The site’s close proximity to water courses would cause further difficulties, as attempts to extinguish a potential blaze might cause considerable pollution. The preferred response put forward by the report would be to allow a fire to burn itself out in a controlled manner, although this could take between 3 and 6 weeks. Local industry could also be threatened; nearby business would have to be closed for a day or more, while crops from nearby fields would be contaminated.


The report states that, should a fire occur,


“Members of the public within 500m of the site will be advised to shelter and could potentially be evacuated depending on current and forecast weather conditions”


The site’s owners, Newlyn Developments, have begun the process of removing the tyres from the site, though the cost is expected to run into the tens of thousands. Jayne Archibald, a director of Newlyn Developments, said, “We were totally unaware of the quantity of tyres there until we discovered the tenants had left. We are now working very closely with fire officers and removing the tyres”.


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