Acumen Waste Services in Leeds awarded contract to clean up Alex Smiles waste site

The abandoned Alex Smiles waste site in Deptford, Sunderland.
The abandoned Alex Smiles waste site in Deptford, Sunderland.
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A waste management business in Leeds has been contracted by Sunderland City Council, under the close guidance of the Environment Agency, to clear and remediate the former Alex Smiles waste site in Sunderland.

Work to transform the abandoned plant into use as a manufacturing site began in late January with the project scheduled to run for three to four months.

Leeds-based Acumen Waste Services secured the contract to clear up the site.

Andy Crossley, managing director of Acumen Waste Services, said: “We are delighted to have been selected by the council to carry out this high-profile project on this derelict site.”

The waste site itself has been closed since business operator Alex Smiles went into administration in 2015, leaving an estimated 20,000 tonnes of residual mixed waste stockpiled on site.

A fire in May 2018 took more than three weeks to extinguish.

Neighbouring maritime crane manufacturer, Liebherr, will lease the site to expand its business interests upon completion of the clearance and remediation.

Mr Crossley said: “We look forward to working closely with the council, the Environment Agency and Liebherr to ensure that the works are completed safely and compliantly.

“As a business founded over 25 years ago in the North East, we’re pleased to be playing our part in aiding the transformation.

“We expect to be removing three to four lorry loads of waste each hour throughout the working day and we have worked hard to ensure that control measures have been put in place to reduce the risk of any potential impact to external parties.

“My team will be working very closely with the council and Environment Agency to ensure the works are completed in a timely, yet safe manner.”

The clearance and remediation works are being monitored by both the council and the Environment Agency.

Andrew Turner, Environment Agency, area environment manager, said: “We are working closely with Sunderland City Council and Acumen to ensure the safe removal and disposal of the onsite waste with minimal disruption to local residents and businesses.”