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Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority announced today the immediate termination of its fridge disposal contract with Britannia Import Export.

The decision by the waste disposal authority comes just days after another fire broke out at a Britannia Import Export fridge storage site in Manchester.

A spokesman for the Authority said the contract with the Oldham-based Britannia had been terminated "because of a number of breaches of the waste management licence issued by the Environment Agency concerning the storage of fridge units by the company across Greater Manchester."

The spokesman added: "The decision to terminate the contract was taken after concerns came to our attention from the Environment Agency and local authorities where the firm has its fridge stockpiles."

The Authority has said that it plans to find a new permanent contractor as soon as possible but has made temporary alternative arrangements with another company for the collection and de-gassing of fridges from household civic amenity sites.

Fire

Two fires were started over the festive period at Oldham-based Britannia's unlicensed Riverpark Road site in Newton Heath, the first on Christmas Day and the second on January 2, 2004.

Britannia, which owns several fridge storage sites in the Greater Manchester area, has previously suffered blazes at its premises in Albert Street, Chadderton and Trafford Park.

Court

The Environment Agency said today it is now considering taking legal action against Britannia Import Export after the company failed to comply with a notice to remove fridges from the unlicensed Riverpark Road site.

An Agency spokesman told letsrecycle.com explained that the Riverpark Road fridge storage site was one of those allowed to operate without a licence after the initial introduction of the ODS Regulations.

"The Environment Agency allowed sites to store the backlog of fridges awaiting disposal as there was no fridge treatment plant in the UK," he said, "As long as they were well-run and relevant applications had been submitted they were allowed to operate. But this site still has not been licensed and we actually served a legally forcible notice to remove the fridges from the Riverpark Road site."

Because the site had not been licensed, Britannia could not be prosecuted for breaching license conditions, the spokesman said, but the Environment Agency could take the company to court over its failure to remove the fridges in accordance with the legal notice. "Whether to take legal action is still being considered by our solicitor," he added.

If the case is pursued it will be the second time Britannia has been prosecuted by the Environment Agency for charges relating to its fridge disposal activities. In August 2003, the company was fined £35,000 by Oldham Magistrates' Court for breaking its license conditions on another site.

Britannia Import Export was unavailable for comment.

From Let's Recycle

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