Tyre depot with a passing train and Wishaw General in background
MSP John Pentland has branded a vast tyre recycling depot near Wishaw General Hospital as “potentially apocalyptic”.
The Motherwell and Wishaw representative estimates that as many as half-a-million tyres are being stored at the Earthmovers plant on Netherton Industrial Estate, which is also within yards of the town’s main railway line.
Now the MSP has called for immediate action at the site to avoid any chance of catastrophe.
Mr Pentland said: “I find it deeply alarming that the number of tyres on this site is close to 500,000, which, to my mind, is potentially apocalyptic.
“It is atrocious that a hazard of this magnitude has been allowed to develop. I am concerned that the inspection regime has been so lax. There are clearly questions needing answered by SEPA and the Scottish Government, but the first priority must be to reduce the hazard presented by this site, which is close to residential properties and Wishaw General Hospital.”
Just six weeks ago families in Renfrewshire were forced to flee their homes when a ferocious blaze ripped through a recycling plant in Johnstone. The fire also resulted in major transport disruption, with trains cancelled and delayed after heat from the blaze damaged cables.
Earlier this week agencies in Renfrewshire agreed to monitor more closely the activities of the recycling operation. And John Pentland is demanding similar measures be adopted regarding the Earthmovers site.
He continued: “Emergency planning is essential to mitigate the effect of any potential fire on site, including an evacuation plan. I would hope that the multi-agency partners will recognise this as a matter of urgency and proceed accordingly.
“However, the site also urgently needs to be intensively monitored, to reduce the possibility of any incident and to ensure that anything that does occur is contained before it becomes serious.
“There must also be an immediate start to the removal of the tyres from the site. I will be raising the issue of how this situation developed and how it is being addressed, with the Scottish Government, SEPA, and others.”
A spokesperson from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), said: “Following an inspection by SEPA, a premises on the Netherton Industrial Estate near Wishaw was discovered to be storing a large volume of tyres.
“SEPA, in partnership with a multi-agency group including Strathclyde Police and Strathclyde Fire and Rescue, has been involved in extensive discussions regarding the options available for urgent removal of the tyres in order to minimise the risk they pose to the environment and public health.”
When we contacted the site’s owner he declined to comment on Mr Pentland’s claims and concerns.