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EA shuts down Swindon recycling plant after fire

The Environment Agency (EA) has ordered Averies Recycling (Swindon) Ltd to wind up its operations, saying the company “failed to appeal” the EA’s decision to withhold waste licences.

Action was taken following a serious fire at Averies’ Marshgate site in July involving 1,000 tonnes of waste and the prosecution of the company and managing director Lee Averies for environmental offences.

In November 2013 the company was fined £73,000 for allowing dust to escape from its site and operating illegally.

As a result of both incidents, the EA decided not to renew the company’s registration as a waste carrier.

A spokesperson said: “Lee Averies and Averies Recycling have a relevant conviction. The convictions are serious. A memorandum of agreement signed at Bristol Crown Court between EA and Averies was not complied with. The management of the Marshgate site showed poor compliance.”

Notification of the decision not to renew registration was sent to Averies on 13 October 2014 and it will now take effect on 11 December.

The EA added: “Businesses have a duty of care on waste they produce and must ensure that when they arrange for waste to be collected they use waste carrier who is registered and that waste is being taken to a legitimate site.”

The agency also served revocation notices on environmental permits for two of the company’s sites on 12 November.

Averies Ltd has been given until 15 April to remove all waste from its Marshgate transfer depot and until 4 March from its depot at Brindley Close.

The July blaze took the fire service two months to finally put out, due to the amount of waste and lack of space for crews to work. Around 3,000 tonnes of waste had to be removed.

A statement by Lee Averies on the company’s website after the fire apologised to local residents and businesses that had been affected.

It said: “Since then, we have been working tirelessly, day and night, with the fire authorities, Swindon Borough Council and the EA to try to extinguish the fire. We have had a very positive and constructive relationship with fire authorities throughout what has been a very complex situation, and have also cooperated fully with the council.”

Averies Recycling has been asked for an up-to-date comment on the situation.

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