New April deadline set for clear-up operation at Flint Cross

The scene at the wood recycling plant, Flint Cross, in November.

The scene at the wood recycling plant, Flint Cross, in November. - Credit: Archant

The deadline set for completion of a clear-up operation at a recycling plant that caught fire in November – and continued smouldering for months – has now been extended until the middle of April.

The initial deadline to clear the site at the Bridgefoot Quarry at Flint Cross, just off the A505, expired more than a fortnight ago.

But now the Environment Agency has confirmed that the deadline has been extended because ash and debris on the site was deemed to still be too hot to be safely removed.

A spokeswoman said: “Removing the ash while it was still hot would have made the removal unsafe and we also have to make sure that the waste is removed in the right way and disposed of properly.”

In the meantime, the owner of the site, Mr Syed Akhtar of Akhtar Waste and Energy Development Ltd, has been suspended from operations.

The spokeswoman added: “We are in discussion with the operator about the future, and, as with any site, would have to be satisfied that appropriate measures, including infrastructure, drainage, security and fire prevention, were in place for permitted operations to commence.”

Meanwhile, a man in his 70s who was arrested on suspicion of arson has been released without charge.

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Cambridgeshire police said: “We have now concluded our enquires on this matter and will be taking no further action against the individual at this time.

“Partner agencies continue to review the incident.

“We would urge anyone with any information to contact police on 101.”

When the fire burnt, concerns were raised in the community about the environmental damage of materials that were found burning under wood at the recycling plant.

Plastic, metal and sofa materials were found smouldering at the site.

Councillor Peter Topping, who represents the area at both district and county level, said: “We are concerned that if we get high rain, the waste could contaminate the water supply.

“I will be asking the county council that the lease is not returned until everyone is satisfied that this isn’t going to happen again.

“We can’t have a fear of this huge problem resurfacing.

“When the Environment Agency was investigating, the team found an awful lot of stuff that shouldn’t have

been there.”

The Crow was unable to get in touch with Mr Akhtar for comment.

You can find all the latest updates about the clear-up operation by visiting the South Cambridgeshire District Council’s website at