Following a site meeting on Tuesday (28 November 2017) at a recycling site in Bawsey, King’s Lynn, representatives from the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, the Environment Agency and the Police have issued an update on the situation:
Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) have been on scene since 19:15 on Monday 27 November dealing with the fire and the other agencies involved will continue to monitor the situation and issue advice to the public, businesses and organisations affected as necessary.
NFRS will oversee a controlled burn. Due to the quantities of material involved it is difficult to put a definitive time frame on how long this will take, but it's estimated that it could burn for up to a week. This will be reviewed as the incident continues. Firefighters will remain on site 24 hours per day during the controlled burn.
Environmental Health staff from the borough council will be undertaking regular visits to assess any potential impact of the plume on the local community
To date no signs of pollution have been observed in the local rivers and ground water. The Environment Agency will continue to attend the site and monitor the environment.
Dr David Edwards, Consultant in Health Protection, Public Health England East advises:
- Residents in areas affected by the smoke should stay indoors, keep their doors and windows closed, and tune in to the local radio station for advice and information. Motorists who have to travel through the smoke should keep windows closed, turn off air conditioning and keep their air vents closed
- Any smoke can be an irritant and as such, if people need to be outdoors, they are advised to avoid outside areas affected by any smoke or ash, or to limit the time that they spend in them
- Some of the substances present in smoke can irritate the lining of the air passages, the skin and the eyes. Respiratory symptoms include coughing and wheezing, breathlessness, sputum (phlegm) production and chest pain. If symptoms occur, people should seek medical advice or call NHS 111
- Chemicals in the smoke can worsen existing health problems like asthma. People with asthma should carry their inhaler
- As a precaution, residents within the local area are advised to keep windows and doors shut, and avoid spending unnecessary time outdoors
Anyone with health concerns is advised to contact their GP or contact the NHS 111 service out of hours.