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Lancaster MP welcomes government funding for Supa Skips clean up

The Lancaster MP has welcomed the decision to grant more than three quarters of a million pounds towards the clean up of the A1 Supa Skips fire.

As Beyond Radio first reported earlier this month, Lancaster City Council has been given £764,916 in an exceptional grant from the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities (DLUHC) towards the costs of clearing burned waste at the former A1 Supa Skips site on the Lune Industrial Estate.

The Environment Agency pulled the waste-processing permit for the company in 2022, who later filed for insolvency leaving 13,000 tonnes of unprocessed waste at the former power station.

The fire last December caused a public health emergency for nearby residents and businesses, and a major incident response by Lancaster City Council and emergency services.

Lancaster’s Labour MP Cat Smith quizzed the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in Parliament in December, who agreed to grant a meeting for her and city council leaders with the Local Government Minister Simon Hoare MP.

Months of negotiations later, the Government have reimbursed nearly half the £1.5m costs which the council have spent from reserves to tackle the fallout at the site.

“It shouldn’t take pressure on the Prime Minister to get funding for a public health emergency and environmental disaster” Ms Smith said, adding “With massive cuts to local council budgets over the past 14 years, the burden of the clean-up costs of the fire should not fall to local residents. Awarding exceptional funds is the right thing to do and I'm pleased we've been successful in pushing the Government into action."

Mark Davies, chief executive of Lancaster City Council, said: “The city council recognised at an early stage that although it had no statutory duty to do so, it needed to step up and support the fire service in ensuring the emergency was dealt with quickly and effectively.

“This meant using some of the council’s reserves to pay for the demolition of some of the buildings that were hampering the firefighting efforts, along with removal of much of the waste that was providing fuel for the fire.

“The clear message from residents was that for their own health and wellbeing the immediate danger from the fire and the smoke it produced needed to be removed, but that they also did not expect the council to pick up the bill alone.

“Through the concerted efforts of the city council, county council, partner agencies and our MPs, we have been able to recoup around half of the overall costs through a one-off grant from the Government.”

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