ENVIRONMENT Agency officials began action against the operator of a waste tyre site in Bradford in the weeks before a huge fire took hold there, it has been confirmed.

An investigation was launched by the agency this summer over the suspected illegal storage of waste tyres at the old go-karting site off Spring Mill Street near Manchester Road.

Immediately following the fire, which began last Monday and burned for a week, the Environment Agency explained that its probe was continuing.

But now the Telegraph & Argus can reveal details of the investigation so far.

The investigation began in July after reports about a large number of tyres stored on the site, some of them in bundles. After being made aware of the situation, officials conducted a site visit alongside West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, and between them they developed a "site specific risk assessment and incident response plan".

They then worked with the landlord to secure the site to prevent any more tyres from being brought there - and as a result none were.

The next step saw an exemption certificate for storing waste in a secure place removed by the Environment Agency mid August.

Finally officers issued an enforcement notice on the operator - who has not been named at this stage - at the beginning of October. This required the baled tyres to not only be removed completely within four months - but also that the bales were stored to reduce fire risk in the meantime.

A spokesman said: "Regular site visits have been made to ensure risk is managed at the site. During or after each visit, the operator was instructed to ensure waste is stored to reduce fire risk, and to remove waste immediately."


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There are a number of rules around waste tyres, which are permitted to be used as crash barriers at karting circuits or to be stored at a secure site, provided the operator obtains an exemption with the Environment Agency.

But even with the exemption, tyres cannot be stored in piles exceeding 10 tonnes and must have a gap between each pile as a fire break.

In July the pictures taken by the Telegraph & Argus showed large mounds of bundled tyres as well as piles of loose tyres.

Site owner Jaq Yaqoob, of neighbouring Car Empire, said at the time that a new tenant had agreed to clear the site of tyres. He declined to comment to the T&A following the fire.

The site used to be run as a karting venue by OnTrak Community Initiative. Officials at the children's charity outlined how they had cleared the site of any tyres they used as part of the karting circuit before they vacated it more than 18 months ago.

At its height 15 fire engines and almost 100 firefighters were involved in tackling the blaze, which saw a number of local schools and businesses affected, as well as rail services. Firefighters remain at the scene damping down.

Two people were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit arson and were released on bail. Police inquiries are ongoing.

The Environment Agency added: Public health advice to stay indoors and close windows has been lifted. However, Public Health England has advised that as any smoke can be an irritant, anyone that can still see or smell smoke should avoid the area and if necessary, keep windows and doors closed.

"Air quality monitoring was not deployed at the outset of the fire as this would not have changed advice from Public Health England to stay inside with windows and doors closed. The decision was reviewed and monitoring implemented following a change in the West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service’s firefighting strategy to use foam and dig out the fire, which led to increased smoke.

"Results from the monitoring showed that the risk to public health was low as long as everyone followed the published guidance.

"Environment Agency officers have been on site throughout the incident to provide advice to the fire service and our partners to help control the fire.

"We continue to implement our incident response plan to ensure fire-fighting water does not present a flood risk to nearby properties. We continue to monitor Bowling Beck and Bradford Beck to minimise any environmental impacts from the fire or from surface water generated by the fire fighting."