Business

Swindon waste dealer given six-year company ban

A Swindon-based waste dealer has been handed a six-year ban from running limited companies after two of his enterprises were found to be in breach of environmental regulations.

Lee Averies from Wanborough, Wiltshire, was given the ban by the government’s Insolvency Service after he signed a disqualification undertaking in connection with environmental permit breaches while director of waste companies Averies Recycling (Swindon) Ltd at Marshgate and Swindon Skips Ltd at Brindley Close, Cheney Manor, both in Swindon.

Averies was recently ordered to repay £200,000 at Swindon Crown Court following an Environment Agency (EA) investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 for environmental offences committed at his waste sites. He is also already serving a five-year ban from the waste industry and a three-year prison sentence suspended for two years for environmental offences at the two Swindon sites and another site in Calne that he operated with his brother, David Averies.

Swindon waste dealer given six-year company ban
A waste fire at one of Averies' sites.
In the disqualification undertaking Averies signed – which has the same effect as a disqualification order but does not involve court proceedings – he did not dispute having held amounts of waste in excess of the permitted allowance at his Marshgate site, nor did he dispute that his site at Brindley Close had maintained inadequate security, stored waste where it was not permitted and failed to implement adequate fire breaks to halt the spread of a fire. Both sites suffered waste fires in 2014 and 2013 respectively.

Averies’ misconduct while director of Swindon Skips Ltd led to the EA suspending the company’s environmental permit, causing Swindon Borough Council, the landowner, top become liable for clearing the Brindley Close site following the liquidation of Swindon Skips Ltd.

Effective from 1 April 2019, Averies is now banned for six years from directly or indirectly becoming involved, without the permission of the court, in the promotion, formation or management of a company.

Commenting on the case, David Brooks, Chief Investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: "Managing waste sites is a significant undertaking considering the amount of regulations you need to uphold to mitigate the impact on both the environment and local residents too.

"Six years is a substantial ban recognising that Lee Averies not only caused significant disruption to the surrounding area during the 57-day fire on the Marshgate site but his actions also caused the local authority and EA to incur hundreds and thousands of pounds worth of costs, which are ultimately picked up by local residents and taxpayers."

Colin Chiverton, Environment Manager for the EA in Wiltshire, added: "The Environment Agency provided evidence to support Averies’ ban from holding a senior position within companies which sits alongside Averies’ current five-year ban from the waste industry.

"In addition to our own enforcement action, the EA supports agencies like the Insolvency Service to disrupt criminals operating in the waste sector, and their impact on legitimate business."

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