WOKINGHAM residents are being urged to dispose of batteries correctly, after a waste collection vehicle caught fire last month.
On Friday, February 12, crews spotted smoke coming from their collection lorry while in Spencers Wood.
After realising the vehicle was on fire, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) was called to the scene and extinguished the fire before anybody was injured.
The cause of the flame was a car battery, which a resident had put in their general waste bin.
“I’d like to thank the crew for spotting the fire early and local fire service for their swift response to deal with the incident,” said Cllr Parry Batth, executive member for environment and leisure. “Fortunately, none of the staff were injured and they were so proactive in dealing with the incident, but this situation is easily avoidable.”
The waste collection lorry is now out of service, and Wokingham Borough Council said finding a temporary vehicle “will have significant financial impact”.
Now, Cllr Batth is reminding residents how important it is to discard batteries properly.
“All residents should dispose of all batteries, and small electrical devices, correctly at their household waste recycling centre or other local collection points to help prevent future vehicle fires,” he said.
Dan Crease, RBFRS group manager, added: “Batteries in household waste and recycling can lead to a challenging incident for fire and rescue services to deal with, which can cause significant disruption to communities.
“Many people may not realise the importance of correctly disposing of batteries, so we are urging residents to please act responsibly by using widely available local battery recycling services.”
Batteries of all kinds, from triple AAAs to car batteries, should not be put in the general waste bin but taken to a designated recycling centre where they can be disposed of safely.
“Fires involving batteries and electrical items incorrectly discarded into kerbside collections have a significant impact on our resources, as well as the fire services,” Cllr Batth added. “This incident was small but it could have been much worse and been a further drain on public resources – both for the council and the fire service.”
To find out where batteries can be recycled in Wokingham borough, visit: www.recyclenow.com/local-recycling
To find out what can and cannot go into kerbside collections, visit: www.wokingham.gov.uk