A recycling center with massive stockpiles of tires in west Brisbane is exposing local residents to significant fire and health risks, according to a community group.

Chip Tire in New Chum was fined nearly $14,000 in December last year by the Department of Environment and Science (DES), after failing to comply with an order to reduce the number of tires on site to minimize its risk of fire.

Ipswich Residents Against Toxic Environments (IRATE) chairman Jim Dodrill said the company was putting the nearby community of Redbank Plains at risk.

“Our main concern is that if these stocks catch fire, the potential for a very large disaster is significant,” Dodrill said.

“We are concerned that the State Government and Ipswich City Council do not have a disaster management plan in place for this facility as they simply believe it will not happen.

“There’s real potential there because if we have a bushfire, for example, and it ignites that tire stock, then we’re going to have whole suburbs covered in toxic smoke.”

IRATE chairman Jim Dodrill said residents were concerned that not enough was being done to protect them.(ABC News Mark Leonardi )

Mr Dodrill accused council of neglecting residents’ concerns.

“The council fell asleep at the wheel on this particular issue,” he said.

“They knew about this because before they were elected they promised to do something about it and they haven’t done anything to our knowledge.

“They didn’t even go see themselves, despite all the emails and communication we had with them.

“They just seem completely disinterested in it.”

Community welfare a priority, council says

Local councilor Andrew Fechner said he met with several community members to discuss Chip Tyre.

“The council treats all matters relating to potential pollution, environmental damage and the general health and well-being of its residents very seriously,” said Cr Fechner.

“In September, I also wrote to the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Commissioner raising residents’ concerns about the alleged storage of tire chips and the potential fire hazard at Chip Tyre. .”

He said if any member of the public had concerns about these industries, they could contact the council or DES.

Growth, infrastructure and waste committee chair Mayor Teresa Harding said community complaints were investigated, resulting in several show cause notices being sent to the company.

Chip Tire works closely with authorities

Chip Tire said in a statement that it was liaising with DES and QFES to ensure its site remained low fire risk.

“Chip Tire takes its social and environmental responsibilities seriously, which we uphold through best-practice policies and practices,” the company said.

“Chip Tire has fully considered the impact and protection of the local environment and the community in its safety and environmental procedures.

“We remain engaged with the local community to hear concerns. The environment, health and well-being of the local community have informed every decision the organization has made over the past 20 years, which is is reflected in a very strong balance sheet.

“We will continue to protect the interests of local communities in the years to come.”

Outside the Chip Tire site in New Chum, dusty road in the foreground with industrial activity in the background
Outside the Chip Tire site in New Chum.(Provided: IRATE)

A QFES spokesperson said it was working closely with businesses to ensure the community was kept safe.

“QFES is aware of public concerns regarding the storage of tires at a New Chum business and is working with the owner of this site to mitigate potential fire hazards,” they said.

“QFES undertakes regular safety inspections of sites that have large stocks of tires on site to ensure owners and occupiers are meeting their legislative requirements to provide an appropriate level of community safety.”

A DES spokesperson noted that the organization continues to inspect the Chip Tire plant, with the last visit taking place in August.

“As an environmental regulator, DES takes compliance issues seriously. That’s why our department officers respond quickly to monitor and investigate any EA violations or environmental incidents,” they said. .

“DES will take strong action, including legal action, when companies violate their environmental obligations.”

Residents’ concerns fall on deaf ears

Mr Dodrill said regulators had not gone far enough in mitigating risk and needed to take additional steps to bring the company into compliance.

“It’s frustrating because if this place catches fire it will affect people’s health,” he said.

“It’s going to affect their way of life, and it can affect the value of their properties and that’s just not good enough.

“We say eliminate the problem before it happens.

“Don’t let that happen and then try to do something. Get in early.”