'The smell is foul': Brigade called to more than 70 fires at Rainham site since 2018

Firefighters tackled a blaze at a landfill in Launders Lane, Rainham today (April 23). Picture: Lond

Firefighters tackled a blaze at Launders Lane in Rainham on April 23 - Credit: London Fire Brigade

There have been more than 70 fires within four years at the same site in Rainham, the London Fire Brigade has revealed.  

Recurring blazes on Launders Lane have been an issue for residents living near the former landfill site at Arnolds Field for several years.  

London Fire Brigade’s borough commander for Havering, Paul McClenaghan, said: “Crews from Havering and surrounding boroughs have attended more than 70 fires at the site on Launders Lane in Rainham since 2018.” 

In response to the issue, Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas wrote to Havering Council on June 30 to request an “urgent meeting” between himself, senior officers, the landowner and London Fire Brigade’s (LFB) station commander.  

Mr Cruddas said he had raised the issue consistently for over a year, adding: “I must express my disappointment and frustration that there still seems to be no plan in place to resolve the issue”.  

Havering Council leader Ray Morgon said the local authority is working with the LFB and the Environment Agency to monitor the site and is in contact with the owner about "their future intentions". 

He also said an enforcement notice is in place: "I have recently spoken with Jon Cruddas, the MP for Rainham and Dagenham, and have told him that I want to be actively involved in sorting out this long-running issue for residents nearby.”

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Mr McClenaghan said: “The fires are distressing for the local community and are putting firefighters at unnecessary risk.  

“The reason the fires are happening regularly is due to the build-up of heat from rubbish dumped at the site over a long period of time.” 

A 36-year-old  mum-of-two who lives behind the site and wishes not to be named, said the smell is "foul”, while another nearby resident, who also wishes not to be named, said: “It feels like the house is alight and all you can smell is burning. 

“You can’t describe the smell but it’s really horrible”.  

The residents say they cannot open their windows when the fires occur, which they claim is every couple of days, and they also say the smell gets worse when it rains.  

Borough Cmdr McClenaghan said: “We will continue to send crews to assess the fire and we will respond appropriately so firefighters can ensure the fire does not spread any further.” 

This newspaper reported a trio of fires in five days at the site in April this year.