The two directors of several waste management companies have pleaded guilty to breaching environmental regulations across three waste sites in Swindon.
The charges, brought by the Environment Agency (EA), related to the treatment, keeping and disposing of waste across the sites operated by companies under the control of brothers Lee and David Averies.
In Swindon Crown Court on 30 September, the brothers pleaded guilty to breaching waste regulations at Swindon Skips’ site in Brindley Close, Cheney Manor; and Averies Recycling Swindon in Marshgate, Swindon. The men were due to be sentenced as CM went to press.
Calne Aggregates Holdings, for which Lee Averies is a director, also pleaded guilty to breaching environmental regulations at its waste site in Calne, Wiltshire.
The prosecution was brought after two large fires broke out at the Swindon Skips and Averies Recycling Swindon sites in November 2013 and July 2014 respectively.
The fire at Averies Recycling Swindon burnt for 57 days until mid-September 2014, disrupting local residents and businesses. The EA said the firm did not comply with notices asking it to remove some of the waste to enable Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service to deal with the fire.
The fire at Swindon Skips burnt for a week and caused major disruption to local businesses and the railway line.
Colin Chiverton, area environment manager for the EA, said officers and contractors worked around the clock to remove waste from the sites when the fires ignited.
Both sites had their environmental permits revoked and Averies Recycling Swindon, which had previously held an O-licence authorising up to 40 vehicles and 18 trailers, also had its waste carrier’s licence taken away.
The charges at the Calne site related to permit breaches that increased the risk of pollution and harm to human health and the risk of polluting run-off from the waste.
Chiverton added: “The EA has worked hard to minimise the environmental effects as a result of David Averies’ negligence, and Lee Averies’ reckless mismanagement of the site.”
This story originally appeared in the 27 October issue. Why not subscribe and get 12 issues for just £12?