A HUGE, illegal waste site has appeared just yards from a primary school.

A local councillor has described the site in Birkenhead as an “absolute disgrace”, and despite it being able to run as a recycling centre, it reportedly has no power source, and the Government’s Environment Agency (EA) has ordered for it to be cleared.

The council also says it’s investigating reports of rodents in the area following complaints about “rats” emerging from the vicinity, with residents saying it’s starting to smell.

The large area sits on the junction of Cavendish Street and Cleveland Street, which as well as being around the corner from Our Lady and St Edwards Primary School, is also close to homes, a church and the Miriam Medical Centre.

Attempts have been made by the Local Democracy Reporting Service to contact those responsible, with the site last occupied by a firm called Eco Recycling NW Ltd.

Now, the site owners, a company called W & J Kern Properties, say Eco Recycling vacated it last year, but waste continued to be dumped there even after the company left.

Representative Warren Kern said his firm is not responsible for the waste.

Mr Kern said clearing it themselves would cost “tens of thousands of pounds”, and he has asked the EA for help on several occasions. He wants the EA to “take responsibility”, arguing that the Government body has “endorsed” it by not acting to stop the dumping taking place.

Mr Kern said the EA had “not taken the matter seriously”, adding: “Why are they allowing it to continue?”

The agency said it has served a notice to the landowners ordering the waste to be removed, and a criminal investigation is ongoing.

An EA spokeswoman said: “The Environment Agency takes waste crime very seriously. We are using all our enforcement powers to tackle this illegal waste site on the Wirral. Our Enforcement Officers did serve a section 59 notice requiring the occupier to remove the waste from the land. The occupier failed to comply with the notice.

“Our enforcement powers enabled us to serve notice on the landowner to remove the waste.

“Last week the landowner was unsuccessful in appealing against this notice which remains in place.

“Throughout this process we have offered advice and guidance to the landowners and, where possible, worked with them to prevent and disrupt further waste going onto site, including securing the gates for a short period.

“The Environment Agency continues to warn and inform landowners to be aware of what their land is being used for, as ultimately they may become responsible for clearing waste from their site.

“Due to the current live and ongoing criminal investigation we are not able to comment further on this matter.”

Residents say rats have been seen emerging from the piles of rubbish, with a huge fire also having hit the site during November last year.

But Mr Kern said “there is no organic matter” there, meaning “no smell or odour”, adding: “We never see any sign of rats.”

One resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said the location is “mounded high with mattresses and settees”.

“People are still tipping stuff there and it is now beginning to smell. This site should be seen to be believed and is only 50 yards from a primary school, houses and a church. It is a sanctioned fly tip! It’s an appalling place really, and the rubbish just gets higher and higher even though it’s shut,” he said.

“The large shed building is piled high to the ceiling with bags of God knows what. It’s no wonder Bidston ward was just named in the four most depressed areas in the country. It’s dreadful. We live there, it’s the last thing Bidston needs, a stinking fly tip.”

Bidston and St James’ ward Cllr Brian Kenny said: “As a ward councillor, I have been concerned for quite some time about that area in particular. It’s an absolute disgrace.

“Some people think it’s an official council tip, but that’s certainly not the case.

“I have asked the council to take a hard line with the owners and the occupiers of the site.

“I am particularly concerned at the reports of rats. I am hoping that the environment agency will start making progress and sort this sorry situation out, and make the place a lot better for both those who live in the area, and those who drive through.”

A council spokesman said the site is private land, and not a council tip “or authorised in any way by Wirral Council”, adding that the authority is investigating reports of “rodent activity”.

He added: “The site is currently subject to enforcement action by the Environment Agency with whom council officers are working closely.

“We are aware of the understandable concerns the community, local businesses and local Elected Members have raised about the site formerly occupied by Eco Recycling (NW) Ltd at Cleveland Street and which was subject to a serious fire in November 2018.

“Council officers are regularly monitoring the site for signs of pests, additional tipping or odour etc and would urge anyone noticing such issues to email Environmentalhealth@wirral.gov.uk.”