His criminal actions could have made a severe dent on the national economy by potentially closing down the Manchester ship canal, the West Coast Railway and two international airports. In one of the biggest cases taken on by the Environment Agency, the investigation centred on the unlawful operation of three waste sites in Stockport, Salford and Warrington Docks.
51-year-old Barry Kilroe set up three waste companies: J25 Recycling, Recovered Fuels Shipping and Asset and Land Group. He was a director of each company and was found guilty of the serial mismanagement of the waste sites. He ran the three companies concurrently and was found to have been transporting waste between sites. The waste sites handled commercial non-food waste collected from businesses in the Greater Manchester and Cheshire area.
Declared bankrupt in 2014, Mr Kilroe pleaded guilty to 10 charges of breaches of environment permit conditions by filling the sites with excessive amounts of waste. Mr Kilroe also failed to comply with enforcement and suspension notices issued by the Environment Agency. All of the companies have now closed down and Mr Kilroe is banned from being a company director for six years.
His mismanagement of the Stockport recycling site run by J25 was linked to a fire breaking out in August 2013 that could not be put out for 41-days. The burning of thousands of tonnes of waste resulted in the M60 motorway being closed and three weeks of traffic disrupting for local-residents and businesses. The fire also led to a local river being polluted from water run off as fire fighters attempted to put the fire out. The cause of the fire has never been established.
In March 2014 fire broke out at a second site in Salford, also run by Mr Kilroe as a director of Recovered Fuel Shipping. This time the fire led to Network Rail closing the railway line in Salford along with the closure of local roads and main routes into Manchester. The fire burnt for 19 days causing severe disruption to local residents from smoke and ash. Mr Kilroe claimed this fire had been as a result of arson. Following the fire he failed to remove the waste leaving the landowner to remove over 14,000 tonnes of burnt waste.
Environment Agency experts told the court that the way the waste sites were being operated had increased the scale of both fires. In the case of the Salford fire the way waste was stored had hampered the fire fighters and that Mr Kilroe had exercised an ‘abject failure’ to assist fire crews.
Waste was then transferred to a third waste site at Warrington Docks owned by Land Group, another company where Mr Kilroe was also a director. The Environment Agency argued in court that according to their modelling a fire here would have had a severe impact on the national economy.
It showed that a fire at this third site could have affected the Manchester ship canal, the West Coast Railway along with with Manchester and Liverpool airports. The landowner was left to clear an estimated 75,000 tonnes of waste from this third site at a cost in excess of £10m.
Lee Rawlinson, area director for Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire at the Environment Agency, said, “This is one of the biggest cases the Environment Agency has prosecuted, we have been committed to do so because of the severity of the offence and cost and impact on the environment, communities and business. It has resulted in significant financial impacts to legitimate businesses.”
Two of Mr Kilroe’s co-directors were also found guilty of environmental offences. Jane Williams was fined a total of £500 and Richard James Davies was given a conditional discharge for 12 months.
Mr Kilroe was found guilty of the following charges:
1. Regulation 36 Enforcement Notice in relation to the storage of waste outside a building or secure container
2. Regulation 36 Enforcement Notice in relation to failing to provide/implement an adequate environmental management system
3. 7th February stored waste outside building or secure container
4. 1st – 31st March stored waste outside building or secure container
5. Waste stored outside on an impermeable surface
6. Waste stored on site longer than the permitted week
7. Operated site without sufficient resources i.e. money, staff, equipment
8. Stored waste exceeding capacity of 10,000 tonnes
9. Regulation 37 Suspension Notice
10. Operating site without an EA permit
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