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SRF facility would 'considerably' reduce cost of processing Swindon waste pile

A council looking to cut the cost of clearing materials from a redundant waste site has asked the Environment Agency for permission to process it at a nearby solid recovered fuel (SRF) facility.

Approximately 11,000 tonnes of waste on the council-leased site at Brindley Close in Swindon became the responsibility of taxpayers after the operators, Swindon Skips, went into administration in November 2014.

The cost of removing the waste could reportedly amount to £2m and a council spokesman said it was hoped that using the SRF facility could generate income.

“We are currently exploring options to obtain a permit to operate the site and have been working closely with the Environment Agency (EA) to come up with the best and most cost effective way of clearing the waste,” said the spokesman.

“One of these options could include disposing of the waste using our SRF facility at our adjacent household waste recycling centre which would reduce the cost of clearing the waste considerably and enable this to be done over time.”

He added that the cost of clear-up could be further reduced if revenue could be derived from processing the waste at the facility but that this would take some time and would need to be negotiated with the EA.

The owner of Swindon Skips, Lee Averies, was also the owner of Averies Recycling, above, which went into administration in January after the EA revoked the company’s waste licence following two serious incidents:

  • 1,000 tonnes of waste caught fire in summer 2014 and burned for eight weeks
  • the company was fined £73,000 in November 2013 for allowing dust to escape from its site and for operating illegally

Opposition Labour councillor Mark Dempsey said was critical about the council’s lack of action when rubbish was piling up: “I want to know why the council did not step in, as landlord, to force Averies’s company to stop this site getting into this state.”

The council has previously said that the licence to operate waste was issued by the EA whose role was to monitor the business.

An EA spokesperson said: “The Environment Agency continues to make regular visits to both the Swindon Skips site at Brindley Close and the Averies Recycling site at Marshgate. Both sites still hold waste. The Environment Agency are carrying out investigations into both sites.”

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