A waste operator whose criminal activities have resulted in a 15-month jail sentence was prosecuted after two large fires in Greater Manchester, which burned for 60 days and caused the closure of a motorway and rail services.
Barry Kilroe, director of J25 Recycling, Recovered Fuels Shipping and the Asset and Land Group, admitted 10 charges relating to the unlawful operation of three waste sites in Stockport, Salford and Warrington. He was also disqualified from being a company director for six years.
Transport manager and fellow director Jane Williams was fined a total of £500 and financial director Richard James Davies was given a conditional discharge for 12 months.
Williams admitted one charge relating to storing waste at Salford in excess of its 10,000-tonne capacity and a second for operating the Warrington site without an Environment Agency (EA) permit. Davies pleaded guilty to failing to provide and implement an adequate environmental management system at Stockport.
The EA investigation followed fires in Stockport in August 2013 and Salford in March 2014.
The first at the J25 site lasted for 41 days and resulted in the closure of the M60 motorway and three weeks of disruption to other traffic, as well as significant problems for local residents and businesses. A nearby river was polluted by the fire-fighting water run-off.
The second, at the Recovered Fuels Shipping site in Salford, lasted 19 days and resulted in Network Rail closing the line in Salford. Local roads and main routes to Manchester City Centre were also closed. Residents and businesses were affected by smoke and ash.
Kilroe failed to remove the waste following the fire, leaving the landowner to remove more than 14,000 tonnes.
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Some waste was transferred to Asset and Land Group at Warrington Docks, alongside the Manchester ship canal. EA modelling suggested that a fire there would have affected the canal, West Coast railway and flights in and out of Manchester and Liverpool airports.
The landowner now has to pay to clear the site, which has an estimated 75,000 tonnes of waste and will cost more than £10m to send to landfill.
Following the incidents, the fire authorities invested in an aerial reconnaissance unit using drones to try to detect elevated heat sources within waste piles.
Lee Rawlinson, EA area director for Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire, said: “This is one of the biggest cases the EA has prosecuted.
“We have been committed to do so because of the severity of the offence, cost and impact on the environment, communities and businesses. It has resulted in significant financial impacts to legitimate businesses.”
He thanked the various services for helping to reduce the impact of the fires.
- In 2014, Kilroe was fined £1,250 and Williams £450 for their part in permits being breached at their sites between 2010 and 2012.