Firm contracted to clean up 20,000 tonnes of waste

30/01/2020 The abandoned Alex Smiles waste site in Deptford, Sunderland, where 20,000 tonnes of waste is being removed ahead of its transformation into a manufacturing site for crane maker Liebherr. See Sunderland City Council Press Release.

Leeds headquartered Acumen Waste Services has been contracted by Sunderland City Council, under the close guidance of the Environment Agency to clear and remediate the former Alex Smiles waste site in Sunderland.

Work to transform the abandoned site into use as a key manufacturing site successfully began in late January 2020 with the project scheduled to run for 3 to 4 months. The waste site itself has been closed since business operator Alex Smiles went into administration in 2015, leaving an estimated 20,000 tonnes of residual mixed waste stockpiled on site. A significant fire in May 2018 took more than three weeks to extinguish, leaving the site as an environmental liability and eyesore. The clearance project has therefore been met with praise from local residents.

Upon completion of the clearance and remediation, neighbouring maritime crane manufacturer Liebherr will lease the site to expand its business interests. The clearance and remediation works are being undertaken under the close monitoring of both the Council and the Environment Agency.

Council Leader, Councillor Graeme Miller, said: “I’m delighted to see work going ahead to clear this site which has been a blight on the city for a number of years.

“There is potential for some short-term disruption while work is underway. But we will be working to minimise the impact of this on local residents and businesses as much as possible and the end result should make it well worthwhile in the long term.”

Andy Crossley, Managing Director of Acumen Waste Services, commented: “We are delighted to have been selected by the Council to carry-out this high-profile project on this derelict site. We look forward to working closely with the Council, the EA and Liebherr to ensure that the works are completed safely and compliantly. As a business founded over 25 years ago in the north-east, we’re pleased to be playing our part in aiding the transformation.

“We expect to be removing 3-4 lorry loads of waste each hour throughout the working day and we have worked hard to ensure that control measures have been put in place to reduce the risk of any potential impact to external parties.

“My team will be working very closely with the Council and EA to ensure the works are completed in a timely, yet safe manner.”

Andrew Turner, Environment Agency, Area Environment Manager – Regulated Industry, said: “We are working closely with Sunderland City Council and Acumen to ensure the safe removal and disposal of the onsite waste with minimal disruption to local residents and businesses.

“The extensive clearance programme will signal a positive move forward for the City of Sunderland, its residents, the region’s business community, and of course the reduction of environmental risk due to the removal of the waste materials.”