In a case brought by the Environment Agency, Company Directors Lee and David Averies have pleaded guilty today (Friday 30 September) at Swindon Crown Court to breaching environmental regulations at their waste sites, Swindon Skips Ltd (SSL) at Brindley Close, Cheney Manor, and Averies Recycling Swindon Ltd (ARSL) at Marshgate in Swindon, Wiltshire. In addition Calne Aggregate Holdings Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching environmental regulations at its waste site in Calne, Wiltshire. Lee Averies is a director of Calne Aggregates Holdings Ltd.
The guilty pleas for all 3 sites relate to the treating, keeping or disposing of waste in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health. The charges cover the period when 2 large fires ignited at their sites in Brindley Close and Marshgate in November 2013 and July 2014 respectively. The charges at the Calne site related to breaches of their permit which increased the risk of pollution and harm to human health and in particular the risk of polluting run-off from the waste especially in the event of a fire.
The fire at Brindley Close burnt for a week and smouldered for some time further, causing major disruption to the local business community and delays on the nearby First Great Western main railway line. The second fire at the Marshgate site was even more significant, burning for 57 days until mid-September 2014. Local businesses and residents were disrupted and affected by smoke. ARSL did not comply with the notices served on them during the incident to remove sufficient waste to enable Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service to tackle the blaze.
Since the fire at the Marshgate site the Environment Agency took the action of removing the waste carriers licence from ARSL, which meant that the company could no longer collect waste from local businesses or residents. Environmental permits were also revoked at both sites which prevented waste being accepted until the risk of serious pollution was removed.
Colin Chiverton, Area Environment Manager for the Environment Agency said:
The Environment Agency has worked hard to minimise the environmental impacts as a result of David Averies’ negligent, and Lee Averies’, reckless mis-management of the site. Working in partnership with local authorities, the fire service and Network Rail meant that the impact to the community and environment had been significantly reduced. Our officers and contractors worked around the clock to remove waste from the site when the fires broke out to ensure the fire service had the space to extinguish the fires.
Lee and David Averies will be sentenced on 26 October 2016.
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