Boss of landfill that was on fire for 57 days banned from running a business for six years

By Jamie Hill - 2 April 2019


Swindon boss Lee Averies has been disqualified from running limited companies for six years after he caused two waste companies to breach environmental regulations. This comes after he was ordered to pay £200,000 by Swindon Crown Court, as well as £15,000 costs to the Environment Agency and a five year ban from the waste industry.

Lee Averies (49), from Wanborough, Wiltshire, has been banned for six years after he signed a disqualification undertaking in connection with his misconduct while director of Averies Recycling (Swindon) Ltd and Swindon Skips Ltd. Each company ran waste treatment and transfer sites in Swindon.

In his undertaking, Lee Averies did not dispute that he caused Averies Recycling to breach environmental legislation at the Marshgate site in Swindon.

The company was deemed to have held amounts of waste in excess of their permitted allowance at the site, which suffered a fire between July and September 2014.

And Lee Averies did not dispute that his misconduct caused the second company, Swindon Skips, to also breach environmental legislation.

The Environment Agency found that Swindon Skips, which has also had a fire on its Brindley Close site in November 2013, had maintained inadequate security, stored waste where it was not permitted and failed to implement adequate fire breaks.

His misconduct while director of the second waste company resulted in the Environment Agency suspending Swindon Skips’ environmental permit, which, following the company’s liquidation, caused the landowner, Swindon Borough Council, to become liable for clearing the site at Brindley Close.

Swindon Crown Court last month ordered Lee Averies to pay £200,000 from money he benefitted from the crime, following an application by the Environment Agency. The judge in that case awarded costs to the Environment Agency of £15,000 against Averies, who is already serving a five-year ban from the waste industry.

Effective from 1 April, Lee Averies is 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.

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 Environment Agency to incur hundreds and thousands pounds worth of costs, which are ultimately picked up by local residents and tax payers."

Colin Chiverton, Environment Manager for the Environment Agency in Wiltshire, said: "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 Environment Agency supports agencies like the Insolvency Service to disrupt criminals operating in the waste sector, and their impact on legitimate business."

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