DEMOLITION contractors have been ordered to stop burning waste at the former IBM site.

Environmental watchdog SEPA visited the derelict plant after complaints following fires on Wednesday night.

Massive plumes of grey smoke could be seen wafting across Inverclyde.

Stephen Regan, chair of Larkfield Braeside and Branchton Community Council, said there had been two small fires the week before, but the blaze on Wednesday had been the final straw.

He received several messages from people complaining about the smoke and smell via social media.

Mr Regan said: “We had posts from people complaining about their washing, to one woman saying that the smoke was affecting her boy’s asthma. 

“I live in Drumillan Hill and there was an acrid smell.
We brought our kids inside, it was absolutely stinking.

“I don’t know what they were burning, it wasn’t just normal run-of-the-mill waste.

“I complained to the council’s environmental health department and they said they had had quite a few complaints brought to them.

“The areas affected were towards the lower end of Braeside and Larkfield and Branchton and when the wind changed it affected the upper areas.

“We want this burning to stop. Why don’t they just demolish the building and take the rubbish away?”

A spokeswoman for SEPA confirmed that a probe had been launched into the blazes.

She said: “SEPA has received complaints about the fire at the former IBM site in Spango Valley. Officers are currently investigating the causes and visited the site.

“The contractor has been advised that there should be no further burning of waste on site and has been advised to take all appropriate measures to ensure that this is carried out.

“We would like to thank those people who got in touch with us and encourage them to contact our 24 hour pollution hotline on 0800 80 70 60 to report any concerns about activity on the site.”

A council spokesman added: “We are aware of the issue and are investigating.

“SEPA have also been notified and are carrying out their own investigation into the situation.”