An illegal tyre site, previously visited by the EA burns creating chaos in Bradford
Illegal Tyre Site Burns in Bradford
A large fire involving thousands of scrap tyres in Bradford has caused train services to be suspended.
A fifteen pump call out was made are at the blaze in the East Bowling area of the city. There are no reports of any casualties.
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has told people living nearby to keep their windows closed “due to the large amount of smoke”.
Rail services into Bradford Interchange have been cancelled or diverted and roads in the area have been closed.
Train operator Northern Rail tweeted: “A large fire at a go-kart track next to the railway at Bradford Interchange is on fire. Around 8,000 tyres and railway equipment are at risk from the fire which is around 50m from the railway.”
The emergency services were called to the scene at 04:27 GMT.
It is noted that this site, a former go-kart site had previously attracted attention, most recently in June 2020 when complaints were investigated by the Environment Agency. The site holds neither an S2 nor a T8 Exemption.
What was the Ontrak Karting track at Spring Mill Street off Manchester Road was found to home to a vast quantity of old tyres, many of them stacked in bales.
One local resident, who did not wish to be named, said at the time that there were so many tyres on the site she was concerned over the fire hazard this presented, so had contacted the Environment Agency about the issue.
Owner of the site, Jak Yaqoob, of neighbouring Car Empire, explained that his new tenant was simply clearing the tyres that had been left on the site since the karting track closed.
A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said at the time; “Our officers are investigating the operators of a site on Spring Mill Street, Bradford following reports to our Incident Hotline about the suspected illegal storage of waste tyres.
“There are strict rules governing the storage of waste tyres, which are designed to help prevent fires and to protect people and the environment. We have alerted our colleagues at West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service and are now seeking to determine if an offence has been committed so that appropriate enforcement action may be taken.”
Yaqoob, told the local newspaper that a new tenant had recently taken on the site after the karting operation closed, and that he had agreed a rent free period if he were to clear the site of tyres, of which there are around 50,000.
“There’s nothing illegal going on any of my sites. What they are doing here is roping the tyres into bundles so they can be taken away. Nobody is bringing tyres on to the site.”
The track site, which was originally a coal yard, is around 2.5 acres in total and runs away from the main street. Pictures taken by the Bradford Telegraph and Argus at the time show large mounds of the bundled tyres as well piles of loose tyres.
A West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson confirmed that it was now aware of the site and that local crews are working with the site owner.
“Local fire crews have visited the site which is a routine measure for commercial premises in order to familiarise themselves with the site.
“The Fire Service routinely works alongside commercial premises to give guidance and support in fire safety matters.”
There are a number of rules around waste tyres, which are permitted to be used as crash barriers at karting circuits provided the operator obtains an exemption with the Environment Agency, this site does not hold either an S2 nor a T8 Exemption.
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.
Failure to register an appropriate waste exemption or environmental permit, or to be found in breach of the legally binding conditions of a waste exemption or environment permit is a criminal offence, subject to enforcement action by the Environment Agency. Which begs the question, was any prosecution made in this case? If not, why not? There will surely be action taken now that there has been a serious incident.