A waste firm director whose actions resulted in the closure of the M60, polluted a river and blighted communities, was last week (Friday 31 March) disqualified from being a company director for 6 years and sentenced to 15 months in prison.
Barry Kilroe, shareholder and director of J25 Recycling Ltd, Recovered Fuels Shipping Ltd and Asset and Land Group Ltd was sentenced at Manchester Court. Transport manager and company director, Jane Williams, was fined a total of £500 and Richard James Davies, financial director, was given a conditional discharge for 12 months.
Mr Kilroe pleaded guilty to ten charges relating to the unlawful operation of three waste sites, in Stockport, Salford and Warrington Docks. Ms Williams pleaded guilty to two charges; one relating to the Salford site for storing waste in excess of its 10,000 tonne capacity, the second charge was for operating the Warrington site without an Environment Agency permit. Mr Davies pleaded guilty to a charge relating to the Stockport site where he failed to provide and implement an adequate environmental management system.
“The Environment Agency would like to thank partners including Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) and United Utilities as the impact would have been even greater had it not been for their tireless effort and cooperation to get the fires under control”
The Environment Agency brought the case against Mr Kilroe and the other directors after a lengthy investigation. The investigation identified the unlawful operation and mismanagement of the three sites. Excessive amounts of waste were imported on to the sites, which breached their environmental permits, and the defendants failed to comply with Enforcement and Suspension Notices.
A major fire broke out in August 2013 at the J25 Recycling Ltd site in Bredbury, Stockport that lasted for 41 days. The manner in which the site was managed increased the impacts the fire caused to the environment and local community. The fire resulted in the closure of the M60 Motorway and three weeks of disruption to traffic as well as significant disruption to local residents and businesses. A nearby river was polluted by the fire-fighting water run-off.
A fire also broke out in March 2014 at the Recovered Fuels Shipping Ltd site in Salford. This led to Network Rail closing the railway line in Salford. Local roads were closed and main routes to Manchester City Centre were also closed. Again, the manner in which the site was operated increased the impacts of the fire, which lasted for 19 days. It caused severe disruption to local residents and businesses, which were affected by smoke and ash. Mr Kilroe failed to remove the waste following the fire, leaving the landowner to remove over 14,000 tonnes.
Further waste was also transferred to Asset and Land Group Ltd at Warrington Docks, adjacent to the Manchester Ship Canal. The Environment Agency’s modelling also advised that a fire at the site would have affected the Ship Canal, West Coast Railway, and also flights in and out of Manchester and Liverpool airports.
There would have been a significant effect on UK PLC as industry from Manchester to Liverpool would have shut. There is still a significant financial impact to the landowner who now has to pay to clear the site which has an estimate of 75,000 tonnes of waste to clear with a cost in excess of £10 million to send to landfill.
Lee Rawlinson, Area Director for Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire at Environment Agency, said: “This is one of the biggest cases the Environment Agency has prosecuted, we have been committed to do so because of the severity of the offence and cost and impact on the environment, communities and business. It has resulted in significant financial impacts to legitimate businesses.
“The Environment Agency would like to thank partners including Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) and United Utilities as the impact would have been even greater had it not been for their tireless effort and cooperation to get the fires under control.
“We would also like to thank Excalon, Salford who assisted GMFRS at Recovered Fuels Shipping Ltd. The Environment Agency has also been offering advice and support to the landowner at Warrington Docks.”
Following this case GMFRS has invested in an Aerial Imagery Reconnaissance (AIR) unit. Now working in partnership with the Environment Agency Enforcement Team they use the remote controlled AIR unit to take pictures and videos of waste sites and to detect elevated heat sources within waste piles.
During Barry Kilroe’s sentencing Judge Driver said Mr Kilroe whilst on bail failed to comply with the Environment Agency’s warnings and acted for financial gain. Summing up Judge Driver thanked the Environment Agency for all their help with a complex case.