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Lancaster MP calls for urgent action on skip hire site after 'major incident' declared

Cat Smith, MP for Lancaster

The MP for Lancaster has called for urgent action to clear a skip hire site after a 'major incident' was declared.

Cat Smith wants a meeting with Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, about the A1 Supa Skips Ltd site on the Lune Industrial Estate.

A1 Supa Skips Ltd went into administration in April 2022 and in November 2022, the Environment Agency announced they had removed their site permit.

This was done, they said, "to protect the environment from harm".

Since then, "the situation has deteriorated and a major incident has been declared following fires at the site" said Councillor Phillip Black, leader of Lancaster City Council, in his leader's report published last month.

Another councillor said at a meeting on Wednesday that "the state of the building, premises and waste, is of great concern to residents and local businesses".

Ms Smith said she'd raised concerns over the site in Parliament in July.

"I was promised a meeting with the Levelling Up Minister who offered to meet myself and the chief executive of Lancaster City Council," she told Beyond Radio.

"Sadly, on the day of the meeting in September the minister resigned, but with a major incident now being declared we have escalated our request to meet with Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to get the financial support needed and push past the legal challenges to secure and clear the area.

"Months on from raising this in Parliament, I'm still massively concerned about the ecological safety of the site, but also some of the other logistical challenges such as the repairs needed to the O2 masts on the chimney of the building which are currently out of action affecting thousands of residents, which I have also been pressing O2 to fix and find a solution to."

Councillor Phillip Black, leader of Lancaster City Council (pictured below), said in his leader's report: "I added my signature to a letter to Michael Gove MP from Cat Smith MP requesting a meeting to discuss the situation at the site.

"The situation has deteriorated, and a major incident has been declared following fires at the site.

"The council has convened the Lancashire Resilience Forum (a multi-agency taskforce including the EA, County Council, LFRS and Police) and is being chaired by Mark Davies (chief executive of Lancaster City Council)."

Councillor Mandy Bannon (pictured below), a Green councillor for Marsh ward, spoke about the issue at a Lancaster City Council meeting on Wednesday at Morecambe Town Hall.

"This is a really serious and important issue," said Councillor Bannon.

"The state of the building, premises and waste, is of great concern to residents and local businesses.

"I very much support a meeting between Cat Smith and the Minister to get some funding.

"The council is taking the brunt of the work in terms of securing the site. This will cost us quite a few thousand pounds to do that.

"We have to get support and funding."

Mark Davies, chief executive of Lancaster City Council, said at the meeting: "We are satisfied we are doing our very utmost to deal with this very concerning situation for residents and businesses."

In November 2022, the Environment Agency withdrew the waste permit for A1 Supa Skips Ltd at their site at Unit 37, Lune industrial Estate, Lancaster LA1 5QP, to protect the environment from harm.

The withdrawal of the site permit meant that A1 Supa Skips Ltd were no longer able to conduct any form of waste operations, including accepting or processing waste. 

As part of the withdrawal of the licence the operator was also required to clear the site of all waste.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “We are working with partners including Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, Lancaster City Council and Lancashire Police in response to recent incidents at the A1 Supa Skips site in Lancaster.  

“We have an ongoing criminal investigation into the activities at the site, including the previous operations and waste storage.

“Members of the public can report waste crime to us on 0800 80 70 60 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

We have approached the office of Michael Gove for comment.

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