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Pepperhill Household Waste and Recycling Centre will remain closed for months, says KCC

A major tip and recycling plant will remain closed for months while urgent repairs are carried out following a serious fire.

The Pepperhill Household Waste and Recycling Centre was engulfed by flames after a fire broke out on Saturday, April 21.

Due to chlorine levels produced by burning waste, Kent County Council has announced that a full decontamination process is necessary, which will take around eight weeks to complete.

The fire broke out on Saturday, April 21. Picture: Steve Crispe
The fire broke out on Saturday, April 21. Picture: Steve Crispe

It will then take between two and four weeks to renew lighting, doors, concrete walls, electrics, the sprinkler system, CCTV and cladding.

Further tests will then be needed to determine how far the damage has infiltrated the building's cladding and insulation, which may result in the roof being replaced.

The cause of the blaze, which broke out in the household waste bay in the centre's waste transfer station, is unknown, due to the volume of rubbish taken in daily.

The council has previously discouraged any unnecessary trips to waste centres at Swanley and Dartford, due to the increasing strain placed on each site.

Discussions are ongoing about extending the opening hours at each centre, whilst Tovil Recycling Centre in Maidstone is currently open later on Wednesday and Thursday evening.

An aerial view of the fire. Picture: Matt Joners
An aerial view of the fire. Picture: Matt Joners

KCC waste services manager Kay Groves said: "We appreciate that while the site is closed it will be inconvenient for people wanting to get rid of their waste.

"This incident has created severe pressures on the surrounding household waste recycling centres, particularly Dartford Heath, Swanley and the Medway site at Cuxton.

"At the moment we have planned for the site to be closed until August to undertake the first phase of decontamination.

"We will then look to temporarily open the site once the first phase is complete, whilst planning, preparation, design and procurement of the works related to the roof removal takes place.

"The second phase closure is earmarked for October/November or February when seasonal demand is at its lowest.

"We will endeavour to have part closures of the site to lessen the impact, but safety is priority."

It is unknown what started the fire. Picture: Steve Crispe
It is unknown what started the fire. Picture: Steve Crispe

For more information, visit www.kent.gov.uk/waste

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