A COUNCIL trash programme will be delayed for up to two months after 15,000 recycling bins were destroyed in a massive blaze.

The fire, which caused £500,000 worth of damage and was tackled by 100 Lancashire firefighters last Tuesday, destroyed timber board, toilet roll, tissue paper and plastic parts as well as the warehouse belonging to East Lancashire Warehousing.

It has now come to light that the factory, at Blackburn's Davyfield Industrial Estate, off Roman Road, also contained 15,000 white recycling boxes.

They were made for Blackburn with Darwen Council's new waste recycling programme and were due to be distributed later this month.

The boxes, produced by Linpac Environmental services, in Corsham, Wiltshire, were intended to hold dry recycling items such as glass, plastic, metal bottles and cans.

The order was the first of 46,000 boxes to be produced by the company. They were to be sent to areas in the borough that weren't part of the council's successful recycling pilot scheme launched in 12,000 houses in April, which included Hoddlesden, Pole Lane and Priory Drive in Darwen, with Crib Lane, Feniscowles, Heys Lane and Pleckgate homes among the Blackburn recipients.

Coun Andy Kay, the council's executive member for regeneration, said: "Unfortunately the fire destroyed 15,000 recycling boxes which were due to be delivered to households throughout the borough.

"We are due further deliveries and although the fire has delayed things slightly it will not present a major hold up."

The council is insured for the £37,500 cost of replacing the boxes.

A definite date for their replacement has not yet been confirmed, but it is though that they will be delivered to Blackburn by October or November.

Coun Kay said: "There is currently a high demand for the product so we are still awaiting confirmation of the final delivery date for the replacements."

Fire crews and police are still investigating the cause of the fire, which was visible for several miles.

Peter Ashworth, assistant divisional officer based in Hyndburn, who is in charge of the investigation, said: "We haven't made any conclusions as yet, but we are continuing to look into possible causes of the fire."

Linpac Environmental were unavailable for comment.