Residents praise work to clear 20,000-tonne rubbish pile
Local residents have praised work to reduce a 20,000-tonne rubbish pile at the end of their cul-de-sac which used to be like "living next to rotting corpses".
The litter heap on the former Waste4Fuel site in Orpington, Kent, near to the A20 Sidcup bypass, had been left to fester for several years, creating a risk which saw fire crews regularly sent out to tackle hot-spots which would erupt into flames.
Neighbours described it as a "living nightmare" due to the horrific smells coming from the 40ft (12m) high and 60ft (18m) wide heap.
They also described how it was infested with rats which would regularly run into their gardens.
But in August last year, Bromley Council brokered a deal between the Environment Agency and the site owners to secure the future ownership of the site as well as enable access to allow the clearance to be carried out by contractors Veolia.
Jan Watkins (62) a grandmother-of-two who lives nearby, praised the work to clear the site.
She said: "They seem to be getting on with it. Visually it looks as if it's half gone, the top half was narrower than the top half, visually it looks like they are making really good progress.
"They are doing a good job. Our biggest fear was that the smell would be really bad, the smells have been hardly noticeable. I was expecting the worst, they seem to have control of the fires, that was an anxiety going through my mind.
"I haven't been plagued by rats as I feared.
"Things have improved considerably. They are doing a terrific job, I am really pleased with the contractors."
She said local residents hoped that once the clearance work had been completed, the site could be turned into a visitor centre and car park providing access to the nearby Ruxley lakes.
Mrs Watkins said: "It's a beautiful serene lake, it's a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) site and it would be great to have access and local schools could visit as well."