AN emergency meeting to discuss the safety of residents living near the former plastics recycling site ruled that evacuated residents can return to their homes.

Eight households were advised to evacuate the area near the former V10 Polymers site in Paterson Street, Blackburn, after the blaze took hold.

It was thought it would take at least 24 hours to put out the fire completely.

Representatives from Blackburn with Darwen Council, Lancashire Fire and Rescue, police, the Environment Agency and Public Health England attended to discuss how to minimise the fire risk at the privately-owned site.

Blackburn with Darwen Council chief executive Harry Catherall said: “The council is equally frustrated by these incidents which have significant impacts on residents living close by, businesses and indeed our emergency services.

“We have taken on a co-ordinating role. We have been working closely with all of our partners since the first fire to help minimise the fire risk at this privately owned site.

“A lot of work has been done at the site to ensure that the fire breaks put in place would enable any further fires to be tackled more efficiently. The remaining steel frame in one part of the mill was demolished to make the building safe and prevent any asbestos spreading into the area.

“It’s envisaged this fire will be fully extinguished over the next 24 hours. Had the fire breaks not been put in place, a fire of this scale would have been burning over weeks.

“The council has commissioned a contractor to assist damping down with the use of a mechanical digger to break up the smouldering residues of fire.

“There has been extensive community support and specialist clean-up operations have been commissioned by the council. Air quality checks have also taken place to provide public reassurance.

“The Environment Agency are speaking to the new owners of the site and we will be working closely with them again about their responsibilities.

“Agencies, including the Council, put pressure on the land owners to ensure extra security measures were put in place at the site including protective fencing, alarms and motion detectors. The council also installed CCTV at the site which is being reviewed and has been shared with the police.”

A council spokesman said: “Residents are being allowed back into their homes following another large fire at a former waste recycling site in Blackburn.”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation with fire bosses describing arson as a ‘very real possibility’.

Anyone with information about the fire is urged to call police on 101, while anyone with health concerns connected to the fire should call 111.