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Drone footage reveals scale of one of the UK's biggest waste clean-ups
This is what 66k tonnes of illegally dumped waste looks like

Drone footage shows how leading waste management firm Broad Environmental has completely transformed the face of a storage site at Warrington docks, removing more than 66,000 tonnes of waste that had been illegally dumped.

In one of the largest clean-ups of abandoned waste ever seen in the UK, Broad Environmental was able to recover and recycle more than 94% of the waste.

The company was appointed by the landowner to process and remove thousands of bales, which filled two huge storage units and every available inch of space around the buildings and along the canal side.

It followed the eviction of disgraced waste management company Asset and Land Group, which had intended to use the adjacent Manchester Ship Canal to send the material as a combustible fuel for use within energy from waste plants in the Nordics.

A £6m clean-up

The clean-up process took Broad Environmental 18 months to complete, with a final clear-up cost in excess of £6m. By contracting with Broad Environmental and not sending the material straight to landfill, the landowners were able to save over £3m.

‘This project was one of the largest clearances of abandoned waste seen the UK’, revealed Broad Environmental director Alistair Hilditch-Brown. ‘We did not have any information on the contents of the bales stored on site, and no information of their provenance. This meant that we had to split open every bale to ensure that the correct handling procedures were followed and material was managed in line with waste hierarchy.’

Asset and Land Group

In 2013, Asset and Land Group were investigated by the Environment Agency after major fires broke out at two sites they managed in Greater Manchester.

The first fire, at a site in Stockport, lasted for 41 days and resulted in the closure of the M60 motorway and three weeks of disruption to other traffic.

Environment Agency modelling suggested that a fire at the Warrington site would have affected the Manchester Ship Canal, West Coast Railway and flights in and out of Manchester and Liverpool airports, causing huge disruption.

A warning for landlords

Broad Environmental has successfully completed the removal and reprocessing of over 300,000 tonnes of abandoned waste since 2016, and is on target to manage the clearance of over 1m tonnes of abandoned waste from sites throughout the UK by 2020.

With both waste crime and waste abandonment on the increase, Alistair issued a sober warning to landlords and landowners. ‘Waste crime and abandoned waste are two of the fastest-growing issues throughout the UK’, he said, ‘costing many innocent landlords and landowners millions of pounds every year – not to mention the environmental impact they can leave behind.’

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