24 February 2020

Residents invited to public meeting on Hollingdean fire

We're holding a public meeting this Wednesday to discuss last summer’s fire at the Hollingdean waste transfer station.

The meeting will take place at Downs Infant School, Ditchling Road, BN1 6JA between 6pm and 8pm on Wednesday 26 February.

Representatives and experts from Cityclean, the fire service, Public Health England, the Environment Agency, local councillors and Veolia which runs the site, will take questions from attendees.

There will also be details on what is believed to have sparked the fire at the site on Sunday 25 August, and how a similar blaze could be prevented in the future.

Two reports have being produced – one by Cityclean and another by Veolia – looking at what happened, the inquiry that took place, the findings and the recommendations.

Causes of the fire

We’re holding the public meeting to fully explain the causes of the fire, the actions taken and what we’re doing to try and prevent it happening again.

There will be representatives of different agencies there to give their expertise and answer questions from the public.

The council, Veolia and East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service agree the fire was likely to have been caused by a disposable barbecue that had been placed in an ordinary bin on the seafront rather than in one of the many dedicated barbecue bins.

The Cityclean report states that the street cleaner who took the black bin liner from the bin had no indication there was a smouldering BBQ inside.

The street cleaner placed the full sack into the back of a van and took it to the waste transfer station (WTS). When the van was emptied onto the floor of the WTS, the BBQ set other waste alight.

Preventing fires in waste

Fires don’t just start due to barbecues. They can be sparked by other materials like batteries, cigarettes and fireworks and can be very difficult to detect.

While it’s possible to minimise the risk of what’s called a ‘hot load’ in litter bins, it’s extremely difficult to stop the risk entirely

Ways to help minimise the risk of a fire in a bin, a lorry or at the waste transfer station is to: 

  • use the dedicated bins for barbecues on the seafront 
  • soak fireworks in water for 24 hours
  • fully extinguish cigarettes, and,
  • recycle batteries at your local supermarket - they should not be put in your ordinary waste as they contain hazardous materials

The reports also state that Cityclean and Veolia are working together to minimise the risk of future fires.

More like this

Exterior of the materials recovery facility in Hollingdean

Fire at Hollingdean waste transfer station

Officers from East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service have now left the scene after putting out a fire at Hollingdean waste transfer station. Smoke from the fire has now dispersed. Refuse and recycling collections are continuing as usual.