DELAYS in putting out the Marshgate waste fire have been placed at the door of Averies Recycling by the Environment Agency after it was accused of delaying firefighters at the site.

On Friday, Averies Recycling, the firm responsible for the waste site, said the Government body had been withholding consent on Wiltshire Fire & Rescue’s strategy for extinguishing the fire.

In response to those claims, a spokesman for the agency said it is waiting on Averies to remove excess waste at the site in order to allow more effective firefighting.

She said: “We are working with our professional partners to ensure extinguished waste is being safely removed from the site by the operator.

“The multi-agency response is being hampered by the quantity of waste stored at the site. The Environment Agency and partners have requested the operator remove the waste.

“During these types of incident the Environment Agency focuses on minimising and monitoring the impacts on the environment.

“This includes ensuring that environmental regulations are adhered to through advice and, if necessary, enforcement and that any waste generated is managed and disposed of appropriately.”

Wiltshire Fire and Rescue is still at Averies’ base attempting to put out the waste fire, which started on July 21.

Firefighters are working with other agencies to investigate the cause and reduce the effect the smoke is having on residents and neighbouring businesses.

The fire service refused to answer questions over the weekend on progress in putting the fire out or any changes in strategy in the coming days.

The Environment Agency has gone into more detail on what exactly Averies was prosecuted for last year, having only mentioned the total fine previously.

The spokesman said: “Averies Recycling (Swindon) Ltd, pleaded guilty at Bristol Crown Court to causing a nuisance to neighbouring businesses with dust generated from their waste operations.

“In addition the company also pleaded guilty to operating a waste transfer station without an environmental permit.

“The company was fined a total of £11,000 and ordered to pay costs of £60,000.

“Lee Averies, an officer of Averies Recycling (Swindon) Ltd pleaded guilty to causing the company to commit the dust offence by neglecting to ensure appropriate measures were in place or followed to control dust from escaping the Marshgate site. He was fined £2,000.”