The Environment Agency (EA) has stated that Britannia’s ten Oldham-based fridge disposal sites that the Manchester Evening News described as being at the “centre of a safety investigation” are in fact, waiting to begin operation.
The newspaper report stated that “environmental laws are being broken and tonnes of ozone-destroying gases are being released into the atmosphere”. However the EA said Britannia Import/Export was merely stock-piling the fridges and not reprocessing them as implied by the newspaper report.
“We monitor every fridge disposal site which has applied for a waste disposal licence, and Britannia is not being singled out,” said the EA.
At the moment, the sites are used for storing fridges and not for reprocessing them. It is this storage process that is currently being monitored by EA officers on a weekly basis to check that Britannia is complying with its guidelines for storage.
Such guidelines include specified height, size and designated areas for the correct storage of fridges.
According to the newspaper report: “Britannia is being paid by local authorities to carry out stage one of the disposal process,” which entails the removal of gases.
However, the EA spokesperson went on to say: “If we find there has been a breach of the storage guidelines, then we may follow through with an investigation” and this could jeopardise Britannia’s chances of being granted a waste management license.
She continued: “We have undertaken no enforcement action against Britannia, they are waiting for their license to go through before they can reprocess any of the fridges.”
The EA spokesperson hinted that Britannia was likely to be granted the waste disposal licence without any problems, which is currently going through a process of finalisation.