The Environment Agency has suspended tyre burning trials at a cement works, noting that emissions from Rugby Cement went over permitted levels for nearly three hours on Monday last week due to a plant malfunction. The company then continued to burn tyres for fuel, but the agency said that was not allowed under its permit. The firm said the problem was caused by a fuse blowing in part of a unit, but the whole unit had not failed so it did not consider it a malfunction.
The Environment Agency had given the tyre-burning scheme the go-ahead in May on a trial basis for six months, despite a long-running campaign by people living near by. A spokesman for the agency said that although the fault was of no major environmental significance, management failures were unacceptable. The company has been asked to implement new procedures before it can start burning used tyres again as an alternative to fossil fuels.
Rugby Cement general manager, Bob Millard, said the fuse blew in a dust collection unit at 0310 BST and the problem was sorted out by 0530 BST. He said: "As the unit itself had not failed, we did not consider the plant had malfunctioned and that it was appropriate to keep burning tyres.
"The increase (in emissions) would have occurred regardless of the fuel we were using at the time and was not related to tyres. Since we started burning tyres in May, emissions monitoring has already shown that there is no adverse impact on the environment. So we are naturally disappointed that the Environment Agency has decided to stop the trial. We will be working with them to understand the reasons for their decision so that the trial can be got back on track as soon as possible."