Hertfordshire County Council has reaffirmed its support for a contracted recycling centre in Hitchin, despite a second fire in as many months and calls for an urgent review.

Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service was called to the Nationwide Metal Centre in Cadwell Lane at 11.50pm on February 7, following reports of a fire.

Six fire engines and an aerial ladder platform attended the scene where crews worked until 6.30am to extinguish a large pile of scrap metal, with fumes from the fire spreading across the town.

That was the second fire at the site in less than two months, following a blaze on the night of Monday, December 11.

Hitchin Bearton councillors Ian Albert, Val Bryant and Dave Winstanley called for an "urgent review" of both the Nationwide Metal Centre and a £2 million Herts County Council contract held by the company.

"We were shocked to learn that just before the first fire, Herts County Council had let a £2million contract with the company to receive and collect metal waste materials from Hertfordshire’s recycling centres," said Cllr Albert.

"In my role as county councillor, I will be asking the council to urgently review this contract and whether it should continue."

The Comet: The Cadwell Lane fire was the second in as many months.The Cadwell Lane fire was the second in as many months. (Image: Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue)

HCC reaffirmed support for the Nationwide Recycling Centre, telling The Comet it was "confident" the company was both "reputable and compliant".

"Hertfordshire County Council has two contracts in place with Nationwide Metals Recycling Limited, including Recycling Centre haulage services and the collection and treatment of scrap metals and lead acid batteries," said a Herts County Council spokesperson.

"NMR have provided services to Hertfordshire County Council  in the current location since 2012 and we are confident that the organisation is reputable and compliant with all relevant legislative requirements for the services they provide for us.

"We join other local authorities and industry bodies in seeking further legislative and regulatory support for local authorities and their contracted operators to help reduce the risk of fires in the waste industry.

"As with many problematic waste streams, producer responsibility and appropriate consideration at the product design stage are key to driving environmental improvement and reducing risk."