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Work begins to clear Great Heck's burning rubbish pile

Work began today on moving 10,000 tonnes of burning waste from an abandoned village tip in North Yorkshire.

For more than four months, the burning waste has been left at this site near Selby. In places, the rubbish is piled up to 50 feet high. North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue have been tackling the pile for months on end.

A firefighter tackles the burning pile of rubbish Credit: ITV News

Residents in the nearby village of Great Heck have had to live in the shadow of this smouldering pile of waste since July. The stench is just one of their concerns. It also raised concerns about about exactly what was burning, and whether it could have an impact on their health.

Today, however, five different agencies including Selby District Council and The Environment Agency have secured funding to remove most - but not all - of the waste.

It's just been a nightmare for all of us, you worry about the end result. It's surprising how it affects your life, everything seems to be on hold until this problem's dealt with.

– Graham Brocklesby, Landowner

The original landowner will be ultimately be responsible for the final phase of the clear up though the Environment Agency say they will provide some assistance.

The rubbish pile has been burning for several months Credit: ITV News

The mixed recyclable waste stores at this tip was run by Wagstaff Total Waste Management Ltd., but has been left since the company went bust in July.

Two people have since been arrested as part of an investigation in to pollution.

Walking out of the house in the morning and smelling it, it's not very nice. Getting in your car, bringing it in through the air vents, going to sleep when you've got the windows open. Yeah, you can smell it, yeah you do get a slight headache but it's one of those things like I said, we are grateful that people are starting to do something about it and the government's starting to do something about it so yes, we're more than happy.

– Diane Walker, resident

The clear up operation is estimated to cost around £750,000, and for local residents cannot be completed soon enough.

Click below to watch Adam Fowler's report: