Waste company bosses have been handed suspended prison sentences after they pleaded guilty to breaching environmental regulations at sites in Wiltshire.
As reported by MRW, brothers Lee and David Averies both pleaded guilty on 30 September at Swindon Crown Court after breaching environmental regulations at their waste sites, Swindon Skips Ltd at Brindley Close and Averies Recycling Swindon Ltd at Marshgate in Swindon.
Calne Aggregate Holdings, of which Lee Averies is a director, also pleaded guilty to breaching environmental regulations at another waste site.
Now the brothers have been sentenced.
Lee Averies was given three 12-month prison sentences suspended for two years and handed a Criminal Behaviour Order, which effectively prevents him working in the waste industry for five years.
David Averies was fined £4,208 and ordered to pay £50,000 costs. He has also been suspended from being a director of a company for three years.
Environment Agency area manager Colin Chiverton said his organisation had tried to minimise the “disastrous legacy” left behind by the brothers.
“If we and other incident responders had not taken the action we did then the impact on people, the environment and local infrastructure could have been catastrophic.
“Averies earned huge sums of money by importing waste onto both sites and stockpiling that waste to save on the cost of lawful disposal. They were well aware of the risks of fire and the heightened risk to the environment as a result.
“They decided to save further expenditure by failing to exercise proper management control of the site and failing to ensure sufficient infrastructure and security for the sites.”
Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service tackled a blaze at the Marshgate site (pictured) for 57 days in July until September 2014, making it the longest-lasting incident in the service’s history.
It also put out a fire at the Brindley Close site in November 2013.
Now area manager Ian Jeary has welcomed the sentences.
He said: “We have seen justice being delivered by today’s sentencing, which rightly reflects the severity of the offences and the impact on others. Hopefully this will send a warning that criminal behaviour without thought or care to local communities will not go unpunished.
“I would once again like to thank the local community for its support and forbearance during what was undoubtedly a difficult and often unpleasant time for them.
“All of the agencies have sought to learn lessons from this fire, and we are already carrying out joint visits with the Environment Agency to sites such as Marshgate to try and prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.”