SUBSTANTIAL funding has been granted to remove a mountain of pollution and waste from a North Yorkshire village.
A smouldering rubbish tip in Great Heck, thought to contain up to 10,000 tonnes of rubbish, has been emitting foul odours for weeks since the waste management company responsible for it went into liquidation.
Two people have been arrested under an investigation into the pollution by The Environment Agency, and were later released on bail, but the tonnes of waste remain at the scene.
Yesterday, it was announced the EA has secured substantial funding to tackle the risk at the the Great Heck Waste Site, with a "significant" contribution from Selby District Council, though the exact amount has not been confirmed.
Plans are underway to consider the best way to remove the waste from the site with the assistance of North Yorkshire County Council and North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.
An EA spokesman said: "This funding will allow work to begin on the first phase of the clearance.
"All the partners involved understand that residents are anxious to see work start as soon as possible. They want to reassure residents that planning the detailed approach for safe and quick removal of the waste is at an advanced stage."
The spokesman said the work would be carried out in phases to ensure the waste can be properly disposed of, and a public meeting will be held next week to explain to local residents what would happen, and discuss how they will be affected.
The Press reported last month that mother-of-three Sarah Webster, who lives about 200 yards from the refuse plant, claimed her children had been "really poorly" due to the smell from the waste site, which was run by Wagstaff TWM Ltd, and stockpiled mixed recyclable waste, until the business went into liquidation.
Health and environmental experts are monitoring air quality in the area, and said the ongoing risk to health was likely to be low.