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National press uproar at Manchester's fridge mountain

By John McKenna

A bust fridge-recycler taken to court by the Environment Agency (EA) has become the centre of controversy in the national media.

Britannia Import Export suffered three fires between October 2003 and January 2004 at two of its scrap sites, leading it to lose its £1 million per year fridge handling contract with Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority (GMWDA).

This led to the firms liquidation and since going bust a backlog of fridges has built up at the companys Twining Road site, with pictures of the fridge mountain plastered across national newspapers.

A spokesman for the EA said: We are working to make sure that the backlog of fridges at the Twining Road site is disposed of properly, with minimum environmental damage. This includes making sure that the fridges are stored correctly. Although we dont have a direct role in terms of being able to clear the fridges from the site, we are working hard with the key parties involved, including the landowners, GMWDA and local MPs, to create a clean-up fund. We hope that by bringing these relevant parties together, the fridges will be disposed of properly and at no extra cost to the environment.

The EAs case against Britannia and two of its directors for breaches of two of its waste management licence conditions will be heard in the Crown Court, a date for which will be set at a committal hearing on December 17.

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