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Authorities respond to Lawrence's entering administration
PUBLIC authorities have said they will continue to pursue the return of taxpayer's money used to fight a major blaze at Lawrence's Skip Hire - despite the firm entering administration.
Twenty four employees have been made redundant at the Stourport Road-based waste recycling company after two major fires hit the firm in seven months.
The Forge Recycling facility, the company’s base, has also been put up for sale.
The Environment Agency (EA) and Wyre Forest District Council said they would be seeking the return of the £250,000 of taxpayers’ money used for demolition work after it emerged the company could not meet the cost.
The EA had also invoiced the firm for £120,000 following the June blaze and £12,686 for last December’s fire.
An EA spokeswoman said: “As a creditor, the Environment Agency will use all of its available powers to seek to recover the public sector’s expenditure on dealing with this matter.
“The Environment Agency’s first and foremost priority is to ensure that the site does not present a serious risk of pollution to the environment and will spend money wisely to ensure that this risk is minimised.”
Administrators KPMG said they would liaise with the relevant authorities in relation to any environmental risks.
District council leader, Conservative John Campion, said: “We’re sad that any company has to enter administration and for those people who have lost their jobs, what it doesn’t change is that we will still pursue them as somebody who owes the council money.”
Lawrence’s Skip Hire is the trading name of Lawrence Recycling and Waste Management and deals with all waste collections and recycling.
Mark Orton and Will Wright from KPMG were appointed as joint administrators on Wednesday last week.
A statement from KPMG said the company became insolvent after two fires disrupted operations. The first broke out in December last year and the second fire, which began on Sunday, June 16, took Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service seven-and-a-half weeks to put out.
Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier said: “I’m incredibly sad. They’ve had two consecutive bits of bad luck.
“Obviously I appreciate there is a bit of ill feeling about the fire.There’s clearly going to be questions but there’s no blame on Lawrence’s themselves.
“David Lawrence’s [the firm’s managing director] parents set up this business from nothing. They worked their socks off.
“It’s families like the Lawrence’s who are the back bone of the economy. They create jobs and they take personal risks.”
A Lawrence’s Skip Hire customer, who did not want to be named, said he was informed that the firm had gone into administration by letter as he was pursuing a refund of £156, making him a potential creditor.
He said: “I had a skip on my drive the weekend of the fire and struggled to get rid of it since then, eventually it was moved at the end of July to my place of work who kindly agreed to host it.
“It was eventually emptied at the end of August once legal action had been threatened by my credit card company. I was still pursuing a refund as I was so annoyed at the hassle I had been caused for a weekend hire skip.”
The anonymous customer said he “doubted” that he would see his money returned.
Eight employees are assisting administrators in the short term while they market the 14 acre Forge Recycling facility, comprising a factory and office space, for sale.
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