AIR quality is being monitored by the Environment Agency close to the site of a major fire in Kidderminster.

The fire, at Lawrence Recycling in Stourport Road, broke out on Sunday at about 5.30pm.

Thousands of tonnes of rubbish caught fire and residents have been told they will see a smoke plume for about a week.

At its height on Sunday evening, roads surrounding the site were closed as about 80 firefighters brought the incident under control.

Firefighters had to use water drawn from a local canal and re-use the water coming off the site.

At one point the huge column of smoke thrown up by the blaze could be seen up to 30 miles away, including from Worcester and the Malvern Hills.

An investigation has been launched into the cause of the blaze.

The Environment Agency is undertaking air quality monitoring to help Public Health England carry out a risk assessment.

However, West Mercia Police’s incident team has not received any reports of people experiencing significant health effects from the fire. Dr David Kirrage, a consultant with the Public Health England’s West Midlands health protection team, said: “It’s important that local residents understand that the risks to their health are low, however smoke is an irritant so it can make people’s eyes and throat sore.

“It may also worsen any breathing or heart conditions they have.

“The general advice remains that people should do all they can to stay out of the smoke.

“If concerned, staying indoors with the doors and windows closed should provide some additional protection.”

People with asthma and other respiratory conditions may be particularly susceptible to the smoke and should carry and use their medication as usual.

Meanwhile, police have advised residents living nearby to keep their windows and doors closed and for motorists driving past to turn off air conditioning and keep windows and air vents closed.

Nearby schools have been told to operate as normal unless drifting smoke reaches levels that cause irritation.