Environment Minister Elliot Morley announced that £250,000 would be contributed towards a clean-up fund to start tackling the 100,000 fridges that were abandoned at four Manchester sites after the contractors went into liquidation.

Working together, the Environment Agency (EA), Defra, landowners and local authorities and MPs have set up the fund to clear the sites, treating and safely disposing of all the fridges.

So far, 40,000 fridges have been cleaned up and removed, and the EA hopes to dispose of those remaining early this year.

Mr Morley said that this was an exceptional and isolated case, and encouraged stakeholders to support the fund so that the sites could be cleaned quickly and in an environmentally sound way.

“Defra has stepped in to help clean up the site as the risk of polluting the environment and threat of more fires are very real,” he stated. “However, the situation in Manchester is by no means representative of the situation across the country. We throw away 2.3 million fridges a year and have capacity to treat 3 million.”

Bill Darbyshire, the EA’s environment manager for north Manchester, said he was delighted at the government’s response:

“Thanks to the efforts of all parties we are now in a position where positive action can be taken to clear fridges from all the sites. This is excellent news for the environment and should ensure that every single fridge is disposed of safely and properly.”

By Jane Kettle

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