Residents have been left horrified after 30 wagon loads of rubbish were flytipped.
Tonnes of waste has been dumped off Altham Lane, Huncoat, transforming the popular dog walking spot into something resembling a landfill site.
The Environment Agency is leading an investigation with Lancashire police and Hyndburn council after household and industrial waste was driven in and dumped from October 14-16.
It comes after a huge fire involving another 100 tonnes of waste blazed at nearby Rakehead Quarry on the night of Thursday, October 13.
Huncoat councillor Eamonn Higgins has described the scale of the flytipping incidents as “mindblowing”.
He said: “I counted about 30 wagon loads up Altham Lane. It’s dreadful, it’s absolutely shocking.
“This waste is just being shipped in by the wagon-load and dumped in our borough.
“It’s going to take weeks to clear and it’s going to cost thousands of pounds before the council can prosecute the perpetrators and reclaim the money back. It’s a massive blight on the landscape and shows an utter disregard for the law.”
Christopher ‘CJ’ McManus, commercial director of the Altham Lane site owners Park Royal Haulage, said he would be meeting the Environment Agency on the site on Wednesday.
He said: “They are currently assessing what the waste and rubbish is to make sure it’s not contaminated and the next step after that is unclear.
“This is extremely frustrating. I sincerely hope there are some identifying marks that would give us some clues where the waste comes from and who is responsible. This could cost us thousands.
“You hear of fly-tipping happening but it’s usually the odd sofa, not 30-40 wagons of waste dumped on a commercial scale.
“They cut through the padlocks and retied them with cable ties. They obviously thought they could get away with it.
“Somebody needs to be held accountable for this.”
Baxenden Chemicals worker Mick Pate came across the mounds of waste while walking his dog through the old Huncoat colliery.
He said: “It looks like it’s been dumped very recently. A few days and it will be very smelly. I’m just shocked and disgusted with it. I was gobsmacked when I saw it.”
Charlotte Porter’s husband Daniel was also walking their dog in the area on Monday night when he found the rubbish. She said: “He showed me the pictures of it and I couldn’t believe it.
“There are a lot of dog walkers who go there with children and their dogs, and that rubbish is going to attract rats and flies.”
Fire crews tackled a large fire involving dumped waste at Rakehead Quarry on the Kings Highway on Thursday, October 10. Firefighters were called to the scene at around 10.40pm.
John Taylor, from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “They decided to leave the fire to burn rather than jet water on to it and create a potential environmental hazard of polluted water running off and into water courses.”
Environment agency leading investigation
The Environment Agency (EA) is now leading the investigation and is appealing for anyone who may have information about the “large fly-tipping incident”.
A spokesperson from the EA said: “We are working closely with the council and police to help deliver a permanent solution.
“It’s important that anyone who has information about this issue or spots any pollution incidents reports it to our free incident hotline on 0800 807060, this will help us protect and prevent harm to people and the local environment.”
Lancashire police have also been attending on site to help assist the EA and council with the investigation.
They said that police officers were called to the site around 4.45pm on Monday, October 17 following reports of fly-tipping on the land off Altham Lane.
A spokesperson for Lancashire Police said: “It was reported 20 to 30 loads from a lorry had been dumped on the site sometime between Saturday and Monday morning.
“Anyone with information can contact police on 101 quoting log reference 1035 of October 17.”