Lincolnshire-based waste management business Mid UK Recycling Ltd was last week fined £100,000 with fees of £50,000 for breach of environmental regulations following a fire at its site in July 2015.
The company appeared at Lincolnshire Crown Court having previously pleaded guilty to charges brought jointly by the Environment Agency (EA) and Lincolnshire County Council.
Mid UK Recycling’s managing director Chris Mountain, said: “We are extremely sorry this fire occurred and while there were mitigating circumstances at the time, including the cancellation of several shipments of RDF which increased our stock on site, we do understand there were actions that could have been taken which may have prevented the fire occurring.
“We are a company which strives to operate in a safe and professional manner at all times and it is therefore even more devastating to us that an incident like this occurred.
He added: “We work hard to comply to all regulations. At the time of the fire we, like many other companies in the waste and recycling sector, were working with the EA towards meeting new fire prevention regulations which had been introduced a few months earlier. Since the fire we have made many changes at the site which has enabled us to gain a bespoke fire prevention plan from the EA.”
Following the fire Mid UK Recycling took a number of actions to improve its site safety and facilities and reduce the risk of future fires occurring. These included:
- Investing in sprinkler systems at the Barkston Heath site, including installing a 55,000 litre water tank
- Installing additional fire suppression equipment in dedicated areas of the site
- Installing fire suppression systems on all mobile plant
- Investing in a new state of the art fire alarm system which lets the Emergency Response Team know if a fire breaks out
- Installing several new water storage tanks on site
- Installing concrete fire breaks and concrete walling to separate waste materials.
- Revising its environmental management system
- Updating its Tool Box Talks relating to housekeeping on site, environmental aspects, environment compliance and the storage of bales
- Updating its Tool Box Talks on fire safety and Fire Marshall duties
- Improving capacity to enable materials to move through the site more quickly
- Implementing a strict regime of deep cleaning in all waste processing units
- Dedicated offsite training in live fire fighting with Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue
- Investing in a bespoke environmental software compliance system.
As part of the outcome of the proceedings the company has also agreed to pay £220,000 to the Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue Service to cover the cost of its services in dealing with the fire at the time.