100 tonnes of recycling goes up in flames at Veolia waste transfer station near Fareham and causes huge smoke plume

Smoke from the fire caused poor visibility on parts of the M27'Picture: Sarah Standing (170919-7631)
Smoke from the fire caused poor visibility on parts of the M27'Picture: Sarah Standing (170919-7631)
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Forty-five firefighters and seven fire appliances spent more that 12 hours tackling a blaze at a local waste transfer station.

Fire crews from Fareham, Cosham and Southsea tackled the fire at the Veolia plant at Downend Road in Fareham. The fire ignited an estimated 100 tonnes of waste.

Smoke billowing up from the Veolia waste transfer station.  'Picture: Sarah Standing (170919-7568)

Smoke billowing up from the Veolia waste transfer station. 'Picture: Sarah Standing (170919-7568)

After the fire was brought under control at 6.57am, the main concern was potential smoke inhalation by nearby residents.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service said there were concerns about the smoke plume, and that for safety, all residents in the Portsdown Hill Road area were advised to keep windows shut. 

Firefighters worked to contain contaminated water following advice from the Environment Agency. The fire was out at just after 1.15pm.

 Nigel Hosier, operations manager at nearby Fort Nelson, said: ‘I was driving to work at 7am when I noticed what I thought was fog. As I got closer I realised there was smoke billowing across the road. At first I thought it might have been farmers burning their waste but I soon realised it was coming from the transfer plant.’

Fire at the Veolia recycling depot in Downend Road, Fareham'Picture: Portchester Fire Station

Fire at the Veolia recycling depot in Downend Road, Fareham'Picture: Portchester Fire Station

Fortunately for Nigel, a change to a westerly wind direction meant Fort Nelson remained largely unaffected.

‘The prevailing wind is normally from the south-west which would have blown smoke right across us,’ he said.

Builder, Dan Cotterill, was working at the nearby Ellerslie House Hotel.

‘As I was heading up from Portchester I noticed smoke spiralling into the air. As I got closer there was a smell of burning plastic which was quite unpleasant,’ he said.

The entrance to the Veolia waste transfer site at Downend in Fareham.'Picture: Sarah Standing (170919-7596)

The entrance to the Veolia waste transfer site at Downend in Fareham.'Picture: Sarah Standing (170919-7596)

Nearby resident, Lynn Collins, only became aware of the incident after husband returned from walking their dog. 

‘When my husband returned he said he had seen what at first he thought was a thick fog which he realised was smoke when he noticed it was black. We had slept all night with the windows open and it was only after listening to the radio that we heard the advice to keep them shut,’ she said.

A statement from Veolia said: ‘Just after 4am a fire was discovered at Warren Farm waste transfer station. Our team followed our health and safety procedures and no one has been hurt. We have begun an investigation.’

Nigel Hosier, operations manager at Fort Nelson, witnessed the fire as he drove to work.

Nigel Hosier, operations manager at Fort Nelson, witnessed the fire as he drove to work.