SEPA suspends battery recycling site’s licence after major fire



Scotland’s environmental regulator has suspended Fenix Battery Recycling’s waste management licence after a major fire broke out on its Kilwinning battery recycling site in April.

No waste can be accepted, stored or treated by the company as part of an enhanced package of enforcement action by the regulator.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) served two enforcement notices to Fenix Battery Recycling that require the company to remove waste batteries that have been on the site at West Byrehill Industrial Estate for longer than six months.

The Agency has also suspended approval as an Approved Battery Treatment Operator (ABTO). 

The only activities, within the scope of regulation by SEPA, that can currently be carried out by the company at the Kilwinning site are the removal of waste to appropriately licenced sites.

SEPA said it took the actions after it found the company was not complying with licence conditions and that site infrastructure was destroyed by the fire in April.

The Agency said that continuing to carry on the licensed activities at the site in its current condition could cause “serious pollution” to the environment and “serious harm” to human health.

The decision to suspend a licence is never taken lightly.

Commenting on the enforcement actions, Lin Bunten, SEPA Chief Operating Officer, Regulation, Business, and Environment, said: “The decision to suspend a licence is never taken lightly, but it is one of the enforcement tools we have available and one we will use when we believe it is required to prevent the risk of harm to the environment.

“The suspension of the Waste Management Licence (WML) will remain in place until we are satisfied that the conditions as specified in the suspension notice have been adhered to – which include requirements concerning site infrastructure, a fire prevention and mitigation plan and fire detection system.”

The Enforcement Notices served by SEPA require the company to remove all unprocessed waste, mostly waste batteries, which have been stored on the site for over six months to be removed to a licensed facility by 4 June 2024.

All treated and unprocessed waste stored within the footprint of the fire-damaged building on site for more than six months must also be removed by 13 July 2024.

As well as the removal of waste batteries as laid out in the Enforcement Notices, the operator must ensure that all fire debris has been removed from the site, all site infrastructure has been replaced or repaired, and all services restored to the site. 

Fenix Battery Recycling is also required to submit a fire prevention and mitigation plan to SEPA and implement the plan at the site’s battery storage areas.

In November 2023, SEPA partially suspended the site’s licence after the company failed to comply with a notice to reduce the amount of batteries on the site classed as special waste under The Special Waste Regulations 1996 to the authorised tonnage.


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