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Wood recycling firm to be sold after permit revoked

South London wood recycler Metropolitan Waste Management is looking for a buyer after the Environment Agency (EA) revoked its environment permit for “persistent non-compliance”.

The EA said the company, of Erith, Kent, was a “poor performer” since 2010 and was ruled to be “not competent to continue to operate”.  

In July 2013 the company was fined £51,500 for storing over 20 times more waste than permitted at their Erith site. The EA was also concerned over pollution from Metropolitan Waste Management’s processing of waste wood into feedstock for energy-from-waste facilities.

The EA issued an enforcement notice in December 2014 over a number of compliance issues, and in February this year issued a “minded to revoke” letter.

The EA said: “Metropolitan Waste Management responded with a list of actions with timescales to improve their compliance with their environmental permit. They did not complete all of their actions within their own stated timescales.”

The list of actions included removal of all waste materials not stored on impermeable surfacing, carrying out additional drainage works and employing a new technically competent manager.

After being issued with a revocation notice in April 2015, the company appealed to the Planning Inspectorate. But on 19 November the inspectorate upheld the revocation notice.

An EA spokesperson said: “The lack of investment on site, with regards to the site surface and drainage, would indicate the potential to undercut legitimate business.”

EA environment manager Chris Hazelton, said: “Metropolitan Waste Management has had many opportunities to comply with their environment permit. Permit conditions are in place to reduce the risk of pollution and to protect the environment and people’s health.”

A statement from the company read: “The directors of Metropolitan Waste Management confirm that the Environmental permit at 185 Manor Road has now been revoked. The company will comply with all the conditions required in the revocation notice.

“The directors wish to express their regret that this matter has ended with this decision.

“It is hoped that a buyer and suitable operator for the business premises can be identified who will wish to apply for and be granted a new permit at the site in order that the employment and business at the site will be able to continue under new ownership and management.”

Wood Recyclers Association chairman Andy Hill, who is also market development director at Suez, said: “It’s good to see the EA taking robust action against companies who are not willing to perform to their own approved and agreed improvement action plan.

“Of course it’s also critical that the EA works to well-defined and workable regulation that takes into account the needs of all stakeholders.”

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