A SCRAPYARD filled with tonnes of waste material that was destroyed by fire has not been given a permit to operate again, the Environment Agency has insisted.

Residents raised concerns that the former Albert Hill Skip Hire site in Darlington was once again operational after they witnessed truck movements in the area.

The site, on the St Nicholas Industrial Estate, caused misery to local people for years as illegally-dumped waste piled up in a derelict warehouse before it burned down in May last year.

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The Environment Agency and Darlington Borough Council have both confirmed that no permit to operate a business of any kind has been granted for the site, which took ten months to clear.

An environmental permit for a neighbouring, and completely separate, business has been in place for 20 years and the truck movements relate to infrastructure improvements there.

Darlington MP Jenny Chapman initially criticised the Environment Agency for handing out a new permit for the Albert Hill site on her Facebook and Twitter accounts after confusion between the authorities about the exact address of the site given a new permit.

After hearing that the Albert Hill site would remain empty, she said: “Residents will be pleased that is the case. Hopefully, given the fuss raised this time it will make the authorities think twice about handing out any waste transfer or refuse permit for the Albert Hill site in future.

“It would be completely inappropriate after everything that residents have been through, a real slap in the face.”

Tristan Drought, environment management team leader at the Environment Agency, said: “The Environment Agency has issued no new waste operation permits for the former Albert Hill Skip Hire site in Darlington.

“The site remains out of use since we and our partner organisations had the land cleared up.

“There is an environmental permit on a nearby site and this operation is entirely unrelated to that of Albert Skip Hire Ltd.”

A Darlington Borough Council spokeswoman said: “We would like to reassure local residents that this new permit, issued by the Environment Agency, is in no way related to the Albert Hill Skip Hire site.

“The Albert Hill Skip Hire site remains out of use. In addition, we have not received any recent planning related enquiries regarding the future use of the site.”