Updated advice regarding landfill fire near Dunbar

East Lothian Council continues to work with a range of organisations as part of a multi-agency response to the fire at a landfill waste site near Dunbar.

Sharon Saunders, East Lothian Council’s Head of Communities and Partnerships and Chair of the Incident Response Group, said: “We continue to bring together representatives from a wide range of public agencies with relevant experience and knowledge appropriate to deal with this incident. We fully appreciate that local residents may continue to experience strong odours and the visible presence of a smoke plume that originates from the fire and would like to reassure them that on site observations and weather modelling continues to be carried out.”

“Weather conditions continue to influence the movement and dispersal of the smoke plume. The forecast over the next few days including the weekend suggests dry, sunny weather with light winds. In addition to local residents, this good spell of weather is expected to attract visitors to popular coastal destinations in the area. Advice remains that when at home to close windows, vents and doors if smoke is visible or the odour of smoke detected.  If local groups or residents have an outdoor event planned in an area where the smoke is visible, they should carry out an appropriate risk assessment and motorists who have to travel through the smoke should keep windows and air vents closed.

“We will continue to provide updates on the situation as appropriate but I am grateful for the following updated advice from other agencies.”

Scottish Fire and Rescue Services, Station Commander, Rick Stark, who is managing the incident, said “We estimate that as of 9am today, Thursday, August 31, the fire is now affecting less than 20% of the landfill pile which represents a sizeable improvement. Whilst the fire has generated a blanket of smoke over Dunbar today, largely due to no wind, its size and scale has reduced significantly.”

Dr Graham Mackenzie, Consultant in Public Health, NHS Lothian, said: “We continue to monitor the situation at the landfill site in Dunbar and surrounding areas very closely as part of the multi-agency response led by East Lothian Council.

“Based on the information from the environment agency SEPA and other agencies, our health advice remains the same – people in areas that may be heavily affected by smoke should minimise the amount of time they spend outdoors and take sensible precautions while this short-term response takes place.

“If they live, work or attend school in an area where they can see smoke or there is a strong smell, they should close doors and windows and not spend prolonged periods of time outside.

“Smoke can irritate the skin, air passages and eyes which can then lead to coughing and wheezing, breathlessness and chest pain. It can also worsen existing respiratory conditions. If people have existing medical conditions that affect their breathing and they have concerns about a change in symptoms and they live locally, they should look on NHS Inform https://www.nhsinform.scot/ for advice or contact NHS24 on 111.”

Published: Thursday, 31st August 2023