Lawrence Skip Hire enters administration

Recycling firm Lawrence Skip Hire, sister company of Lawrence Waste & Recycling Management, has entered administration and will cease trading, leading to the loss of 24 jobs.

The company was badly affected by two fires at its Kidderminster materials recycling facility (MRF) which happened within six months of each other, the latest of which started on 17 June 2013 and burned for seven weeks. The fire at ‘the Forge’ was managed by up to 80 firefighters, and was finally put out in July after part of the on-site factory was demolished. The first fire broke out at the 500,000 tonne capacity MRF in December 2012, burning for several days.

The cost of the second fire, which investigators said was caused by spontaneous combustion, amounted to £250,000. Worcestershire County Council and the Environment Agency contributed to the cleanup costs as Lawrence Recycling said it was unable to pay the full amount.

Andrew Gibson, Director of Lawrence Recycling thanked the staff and customers of Lawrence Skip Hire, and assured commercial customers that collections will continue to be carried out by sister company Lawrence Recycling.

He said: “The waste industry is going through a tough time and the costs to reopen the Forge in the current market conditions are prohibitive and the company has taken the difficult decision to close the Forge Recycling Centre.

“Regrettably, 24 of our employees who live within the local area, will be made redundant. Their commitment has helped the Forge to recycle more than 300,000 tonnes of waste producing secondary materials for reuse and diverting this from landfill.

“Our commercial customers can be assured that Lawrence Recycling will continue to provide collections services well into the future.”

The company handling the administration, KPMG, has now taken over the Kidderminster site and has said that the firm has ceased trading, although eight members of staff are staying on to help the administrators in the short term.

A spokesperson for KPMG said: “During the process of selling this asset and winding down the company the administrators are ensuring that appropriate measures are being taken in the aftermath of the fires and are liaising with the relevant local and national bodies in relation to any environmental risks.”

Fires in the waste and resources industry are a common occurrence, with Richard Benyon MP, Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), saying earlier this year that the industry had an average of ‘just under’ one fire a day in the years 2001-12.

According to the statistics, 2001 was the best year recorded with 246 fires, whilst 2011 was the worst with 425 fires investigated by the Environment Agency.

The average for the 12 years was 335 fires per year, which means that statistically a fire takes place every 0.92 days at an English recycling or waste management facility.           

Read more about Lawrence Skip Hire.