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"Aggressive tactics" being used to tackle rubbish fire

Fire crews tackling a blaze that's been smouldering for more than five weeks have today adopted what they call "more aggressive tactics" in an effort to put it out.

They've finally been able to get close to the source of the fire in a huge pile of rubbish at a recycling centre in Swindon.

But they warn the clouds of smoke which have been blighting the area could continue for weeks.

Bob Constantine reports:

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New plan to extinguish fire at Swindon recycling centre

Firefighters in Swindon will tomorrow dump thousands of litres of water on a fire at a recycling centre in Swindon.

The fire at the Averies site has been burning for more than a month. Thousands of tonnes of waste has been removed from the centre, allowing Wiltshire fire crews to better tackle the blaze.

Residents and local businesses are being told that the work will almost certainly result in more smoke, similar to those experienced in the early days of the fire.

Success for West Country swimmers

Swindon's Jazz Carlin won the 400m freestyle at the European Championships. Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire.

Swindon's Jazz Carlin has claimed her second gold at the European Championships.

The 23-year-old added the 400 metres freestyle crown - a new personal best - to her victory in the 800 metres.

Bath University's Chris Walker-Hebborn won gold in the 100m medley relay.

And Jemma Lowe, who's also based at Bath took bronze in the 100m women's relay.

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Thousands of tonnes of unburnt waste is removed in Swindon

Thousands of tonnes of unburnt waste is removed Credit: ITV News

Thousands of tonnes of unburnt waste is being removed from a recycling plant in Swindon that has now been burning for more than four weeks. It's hoped this will give crews space to tackle the fire at Averies in Marshgate more aggressively. The Environment Agency took control of the site after the owners failed to comply with orders to deal with the material.

Warning from Swindon hospital after hundreds of staff abused

Warning from Swindon hospital after hundreds of staff abused Credit: ITV News West Country

The Great Western Hospital in Swindon is warning that patients who are abusive could be refused treatment and even prosecuted. It comes after 232 members of staff reported being assaulted in the past year, including the Emergency Department consultant who was swung at, pinned to a wall and even had an instrument trolley thrown at him by patients. The "Respect Us" campaign will remind people that verbal and physical abuse will not be tolerated.

Waste removed from Averies at last

Tonnes of unburnt waste have started to be moved from the Averies Recycling site in Marshgate, Swindon after the owner failed to comply with orders to remove it.

Environment Agency contractors have begun removing up to 3,000 tonnes of the non-hazardous waste which will create the necessary space for Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service to tackle the blaze more aggressively.

The waste is being moved by Hills Waste Solutions and comprises mainly non-recyclable, commercial material. It is being checked and damped down as a precaution before it leaves Marshgate and goes on to be transported to the permitted landfill site in Chapel Farm, Blunsdon.

Firecrew at Averies Credit: ITV Westcountry

It is anticipated that, within a few days, enough waste will have left the site for firefighters to be able to intensify their work. Preparations are underway to protect the drainage systems ahead of thousands of litres of water per minute being used to tackle the blaze, which started four weeks ago.

As this more aggressive firefighting begins, the smoke experienced during the early days of the fire is likely to return. Air quality levels will continue to be monitored daily by Swindon Borough Council and Public Health England so that local people can be advised on any necessary health precautions.

The waste transfer operation forms part of a multi-agency plan, which is being advanced by partner organisations committed to the joint aim of putting the fire out faster for local residents and businesses.

– Environment Agrency

Following enforcement action taken by the Environment Agency, control has been taken of the Marshgate site and work is underway to remove significant volumes of waste, which has precluded fire crews from being able to tackle the blaze full blast. In the coming days, it is hoped sufficient waste will have been taken away so this more intensified firefighting can begin. This is a long and complicated operation and we are grateful for the ongoing support and co-operation of residents and local businesses affected by the fire, which we all agree has been going on too long. Another step forward has been taken today and rest assured we’re working hard to minimise disruption and ensure normality can resume as soon as possible. Inevitably, the smoke means things will unfortunately seem worse before they get better and once again I thank everyone for their patience at this difficult time.

– James Mahoney, Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service
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