FORMAL enforcement could be taken again landowners in Aust after an out-of-control rubbish fire smothered nearby homes with smoke.

Firefighters from Patchway were summoned to an open area near Bridge Access Road in Aust on June 26 at around 8.30pm following reports of black smoke visible all the way from Pilning.

On arrival they found a big rubbish fire that had been deliberately set, and they used a high-pressure hose to extinguish it.

Cllr Matthew Riddle, who took up the issue with the council’s officers after receiving a number of complaints about the smell of acrid smoke in people’s gardens and homes, said that to his knowledge, there had not been anyone living on the site for years.

The council have since announced they are considering formal enforcement against the use of the land for waste tipping.

The large open plot of land near the Severn Bridge has historically been extensively tipped upon without any permission.

This is due to a ‘complex ownership’, being divided up into 17 separate plots, each with a different owner, most being impossible to trace by South Gloucestershire Council given the site itself is listed as the owners’ addresses.

This ownership position relates to a 2005 planning application to change the use of the site to a traveller site, which was refused and the subsequent appeal dismissed, the prospective occupiers having already purchased the plots speculatively.

Permission was granted in 2008 for the land to be remediated back to being a field, and in 2013 permission was granted to one of the owners for the keeping of horses, but these have never been implemented.

An SGC spokesman said: “Following the recent fire, we will now consider formal enforcement action against the use of the land for the tipping of waste.

“We are aware of issues relating to the land near the Severn Bridge in Aust, including the fly-tipping of general waste.

“Officers have been liaising with the one known landowner to try to get the accumulated waste cleared and for the site to be better secured, but due to a complex ownership situation this has not been easy to achieve.”