ENVIRONMENT Agency Wales has started removing around 25,000 waste tyres from a site near Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire.
The agency is using its legal powers to step in and remove the tyres, as it said the former landowner failed to comply with notices to remove them.
According to the agency, the site does not have an environmental permit to store such a large quantity of tyres, which if left unattended, could pose a fire hazard.
In 2011, as part of a joint operation with Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, agency officers identified the site on private agricultural land.
Further investigation found that approximately 150,000 waste tyres were allegedly being illegally stored on the site, mainly being contained in large buildings.
Due to concerns about the risk these tyres posed, the agency served a notice on the former landowner to move the tyres offsite for proper disposal.
As a result of this, a large quantity of the tyres were removed, but according to the agency 25,000 remain.
Jonathan Willington, from Environment Agency Wales said: “Since we became aware of this site, we’ve been working hard to make sure it is cleared.
“If a fire was to break out, it could have significant impacts on both the local environment and the nearby community.
“Given the ongoing risk, we felt it was right to take this action to remove the remaining tyres in order to protect local people and the environment.”
Work to remove the tyres is likely to take three weeks. They will be removed from the site and disposed of at licensed facilities elsewhere.
The agency is currently pursuing enforcement action against the former landowner for the illegal storage of waste tyres and failure to clear the site.
The case is currently ongoing.