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Wood recycler fined after fires at two sites

South Wales Wood Recycling

A wood recycling company in Wales has been fined £20,000 over fires at two of its sites.

South Wales Wood Recycling was ordered to ordered to pay £9,000 costs and £120 victim surcharge after pleading guilty to three charges.

It was fined £16,000 for failure to comply with an environmental permit and for keeping waste wood “in a manner likely to cause pollution” at its Alexandra Dock facility in Newport.

The firm was also fined £4,000 for keeping waste wood “in a manner likely to cause pollution” at its Old Llynfi Power Station site in Maesteg.

According to Natural Resources Wales (NRW) during the case at Cwmbran Magistrates Court on 10 November, the company exceeded its storage limit of 7,500 tonnes and seven metre maximum stack height at the Newport site.

The company was warned of the fire risk the stockpile posed and given an industry standard prevention plan.

In November last year, NRW received a report that a section of the stockpile had ignited, apparantly by self-combustion and, over a period of six weeks, large areas of Newport were affected by smoke and odour emitting from the wood chip fire.

Meanwhile, approximately 3,000 tonnes of wood chip waste was deposited at Maesteg site without a permit, according to NRW.

A fire plan was agreed for the waste which resulted in it being split into four separate piles to be stored 20m away from the nearby River Llynfi.

But in March this year, the wood chip was reported as being on fire resulting in white smoke emanating from the site for a period of 10 days.

Steve Morgan, NRW operations manager said: “Storing waste illegally and negligently undermines businesses that invest in the required measures and so it is essential that we take action in such cases to protect people and the environment, as well as safeguarding the market place for legitimate operators.”

South Wales Wood Recycling is a family-run business founded in 2006. An unrelated five-day fire at its Brigend site was also tackled in September.

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