UPDATE: 4.40pm

A SMELL which has spread from a major wood chippings fire in Newport could linger for three weeks, investigators have said.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) said the fire at the South Wales Wood Recycling Ltd’s plant in Alexandra Docks is now out after burning since November 16.

But up to 20,000 tonnes of wood chippings will smoulder until they can be safely collected.

It emerged today that South Wales Wood Recycling had been served an enforcement notice and NRW officers had worked for 'some time' to minimise a chippings pile because they recognised it was a fire risk.

The blaze flared up again on Saturday despite small hot spots being dug out and dampened over recent weeks.

About 40,000 tonnes of wood caught fire when the fire first started.

A NRW press release stated: “NRW officers are monitoring the impact of the smoke and fire water run off on the environment and local people working with health professionals.

“An investigation is ongoing to determine what can be done to reduce the risk and NRW will take the appropriate action if necessary.

“Natural Resources Wales have been taking action at the site and served an enforcement notice on the operators last month to tackle the stockpile and reduce the risk of fire.”

And Ashley Lansdown, who is leading the effort for Natural Resources Wales, said: “The fire is no longer alight but is still smouldering in certain areas of the wood stockpile which could take weeks to resolve.

“In the meantime, we will continue to support the fire service and make sure we try and manage the environmental impact of the fire. We are also working with Public Health Wales so they can advise on the risk to people.

“We will also be investigating to look at what happened and how this can be avoided in the future and, if we need to, take further legal action.”

UPDATE: 10.21am

Pictures of the fire at Newport Docks recycling centre today:

South Wales Argus:

South Wales Argus:

UPDATE: Monday 07 December - 8.30am

Firefighters remain at the scene of the blaze this morning. 

A South Wales Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said several appliances were still at Alexandra Docks damping down the fire.

Meanwhile, Natural Resources Wales said their incident was still open and officers were still at the docks today. 

UPDATE: Sunday 06 December - 2.07pm:

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has released an update statement on the management of the fire. 

They said the estimate that 250,000 tonnes of wood chippings had being set alight, included in a South Wales Fire and Rescue Service tweet, was inaccurate.

Some wood has been taken away and moved from the site - but only 20,000 tonnes of chippings remain there, the Argus was told by a NRW spokesman. 

NRW industry and waste team leader Ashley Lansdown said: "Yesterday the fire at the South Wales recycling facility at Newport docks escalated and as a result the Fire and Rescue Service are employing extra resources to tackle the blaze.

"Despite reports of larger quantities, NRW believe an estimated 20,000 tonnes of woodchip waste is onsite awaiting removal.

“The site owners are working with the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service to fully extinguish the fire. Intermittently this will create more smoke, but the actions are designed to fully control and extinguish the fire.

“The site owners have been working with NRW, the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service and Public Health Wales to ensure the impact to both the environment and nearby communities is minimised."

Public Health Wales' consultant in environmental health protection Sarah Jones said: “If you live in a place affected by the smoke, stay indoors and keep doors and windows closed. If you need to be outdoors, try to avoid areas affected by smoke or ash.

“Smoke can irritate air passages, the skin and the eyes leading to coughing and wheezing, breathlessness and chest pain. It can also worsen existing problems such as asthma and people with asthma should carry their inhaler with them at all times.

“Anyone concerned about their symptoms should contact their GP or NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or visit www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk. These symptoms usually disappear very soon and should not lead to any long term health problems.

“At home, close doors and windows when affected by the smoke, but make sure you open them again to air your home when the smoke passes.

“The smells are usually at levels below which there may be harm to health, but can still cause annoyance, stress and anxiety. Some people may experience symptoms such as nausea, headaches or dizziness as a reaction to odour, even when the substances that cause those smells are themselves not harmful to health.”



A FIRE which has sent a smell across Newport since the middle of last month has spread after a further 250,000 tonnes of wood chippings were set alight yesterday.

Firefighters were visiting the South Wales Wood Recycling Ltd plant at the city’s Alexandra Docks daily after 40,000 tonnes of wood chippings caught fire on November 16.

But the fire spread and 20 separate South Wales Fire and Rescue Service units have been sent to tackle it since 3pm yesterday.

Last week Newport residents were told by Public Health Wales to stay indoors and close their windows – but said the smell and smoke from the blaze is thought to be harmless.

Natural Resources Wales’ (NRW) officers said they were monitoring the situation at the site when the Argus reported the fire on Thursday.