Company fined £22,818 - waste offence

03-Sep-2012

On 31 August 2012, MJ City Skip Hire Limited and Kuldip Singh Kainth pleaded guilty at Leicester Magistrates’ Court to charges that related to the operation of a regulated facility on land at Scraptoft Farm when there was no environmental permit in place.

The charges were brought by the Environment Agency under Regulation 12 and 38 of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulation 2010

MJ City Skip Hire Limited based in Syston Street, Leicester was fined £20,000, ordered to pay £2,803.65 in costs, along with a £15 victim surcharge totalling £22,818.65.

Kuldip Singh Kainth of The Broadway, Leicestershire was fined £4,000, ordered to pay £1,869.10 in costs, along with a £15 victim surcharge totalling £5884.10.

Prosecuting for the Environment Agency, Kiran Cassini told the Court that on 1 September 2011, Environment Agency officers visited Scraptoft Farm, after receiving a report from Market Harborough District Council that illegal waste operations had been taking place. Upon entering the site officers immediately saw a large pile of construction and demolition waste next to an old barn. The waste was heavily contaminated with glass, polystyrene, wood, metal, plastic and other items. Near to the pile were builders’ bags that contained plastic, wood, metal and carpet off cuts. It appeared that some attempts had been made to sort the waste.

After speaking to the site manager it was established that Mr Kainth, who owned the farm wanted to form a roadway and that waste had been imported onto the farm by MJ City Skip Hire Limited within the last two weeks. Officers made it clear to the site manager that it was illegal to import waste onto site when there was no permit or exemption in place and that activities must stop.

On 20 September 2011, Environment Agency officers returned to the farm. As they walked around the site, officers observed two further areas where contaminated waste had been deposited. One consisted of heavily contaminated soil and the other consisted of 30 separate deposits of contaminated construction and demolition waste and contaminated soil in three separate piles.

The total amount of waste estimated to have been deposited at Scraptoft Farm was 2,000 tonnes.

Speaking after the case, an Environment Agency officer in charge of the investigation said: “There was a high level of contamination in the waste at this site. Storing or disposing of waste on land which does not have an environmental permit or exemption in place is illegal. It can cause harm to the environment and undercut legitimate businesses. In these types of cases we will not hesitate to prosecute where circumstance warrant it.”

In mitigation, a representative of MJ City Skip Hire told the Court that all the contaminated waste had since been removed to the satisfaction of the Environment Agency and that the company had now put measures in place to ensure that this incident was never repeated. A representative for Mr Kainth stated that as he was not present on the farm when the deposits were made, he simply did not realise that the material deposited was contaminated.

In passing sentence, the Court stated that the offences were serious, the amount of waste substantial and that the actions of both parties had been prompted by financial motives.

Environmental News

28-May-2012

A Wellingborough wood recycling company has been fined 3,000GBP and ordered to pay 3,000GBP costs for allowing wood dust to escape from its yard.

Larner Pallets (Recycling) Ltd admitted breaching the Environmental Protection Act 1990 for more than a year.

Wellingborough Magistrates’ Court heard (Thurs 24 May) that the company chipped waste wood at its site in Finedon Road Industrial Estate where neighbouring businesses complained that the dust was so heavy it looked like snow coming down.

Others said they could ‘taste’ the wood in the air, it caused pain and irritation to eyes, caused sneezing and covered cars, often difficult to remove as some of it contained sticky sap.

Two neighbouring businesses carry out specialist work on classic cars worth hundreds of thousands of pounds and could not afford to have layers of dust on them.

Mrs Miriam Tordoff, prosecuting for the Environment Agency told the court that in June 2010 the company had intimated that it would erect a building to overcome the dust problem but dust was still causing problems for neighbours more than a year later. Planning permission for a building was only granted in March 2012 and has not been built.

She said that even when the company had a dust suppression system there were several occasions when work was seen to be ongoing without the suppression equipment being used.

The court heard there was a history of dust complaints at the site, resulting in abatement notices being served by Wellingborough Borough Council under statutory nuisance legislation in 2003 and 2004, neither of which was complied with.

Mrs Tordoff said the council was going to bring legal proceedings but were unable to in the statutory time. Further complaints were received in 2005 and 2007 and when a final one was received in 2009, the matter was handed to the Environment Agency.

She said as recently as February 2012 an Agency officer had witnessed dust billowing in the air as a lorry was being loaded with wood chip. There was no evidence of dust suppression being used.

In mitigation Mr David McEwan on behalf of the company said they had offered their telephone number to neighbours to report dust escaping. The company has now arranged for a high netting fence to be put up.

After the hearing Environment officer John Jones said: “This prosecution was entirely avoidable and only started when it was apparent that continued advice and guidance was being ignored. Where such advice is continually ignored to the detriment of the public and surrounding businesses, the Environment Agency will prosecute to bring offenders into compliance."


Larner Pallets (Recycling) Ltd pleaded guilty to:

Between 17 June 2010 and 21 September 2011 you, being a person who keeps and treats controlled waste, failed in your duty to take all such measures applicable to you in that capacity as were reasonable in the circumstances in that you failed to prevent the escape of waste, namely dust from waste wood, from your control.

Contrary to section 34(1)(b) and (6) Environmental Protection Act 1990

 

16 May 2012

A prominent North Wales builder and waste operator is no longer able to work in the waste industry after his permit to carry and store waste was revoked.

In April last year, John Albert Gizzi of Ffordd Las Bach, Tan y Fron Road, Abergele, pleaded guilty to charges of illegally disposing of waste on farmland in Conwy and Denbighshire and not storing or treating waste properly.

These were the latest in a string of offences which led to a number of enforcement actions by Environment Agency Wales. Most of the actions taken by the Agency were not obeyed by Mr Gizzi.

The Agency then revoked his permit to carry waste as part of his J&T Gizzi Builders’ company. His permit to store waste at Colomendy Industrial Estate in Denbigh in the name of North Wales Skip Hire was also revoked.

An appeal against this decision to the Planning Inspector was turned down yesterday (Tuesday).

03-Sep-2012

On 31 August 2012, MJ City Skip Hire Limited and Kuldip Singh Kainth pleaded guilty at Leicester Magistrates’ Court to charges that related to the operation of a regulated facility on land at Scraptoft Farm when there was no environmental permit in place.

The charges were brought by the Environment Agency under Regulation 12 and 38 of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulation 2010

MJ City Skip Hire Limited based in Syston Street, Leicester was fined £20,000, ordered to pay £2,803.65 in costs, along with a £15 victim surcharge totalling £22,818.65.

Kuldip Singh Kainth of The Broadway, Leicestershire was fined £4,000, ordered to pay £1,869.10 in costs, along with a £15 victim surcharge totalling £5884.10.

Prosecuting for the Environment Agency, Kiran Cassini told the Court that on 1 September 2011, Environment Agency officers visited Scraptoft Farm, after receiving a report from Market Harborough District Council that illegal waste operations had been taking place. Upon entering the site officers immediately saw a large pile of construction and demolition waste next to an old barn. The waste was heavily contaminated with glass, polystyrene, wood, metal, plastic and other items. Near to the pile were builders’ bags that contained plastic, wood, metal and carpet off cuts. It appeared that some attempts had been made to sort the waste.

After speaking to the site manager it was established that Mr Kainth, who owned the farm wanted to form a roadway and that waste had been imported onto the farm by MJ City Skip Hire Limited within the last two weeks. Officers made it clear to the site manager that it was illegal to import waste onto site when there was no permit or exemption in place and that activities must stop.

On 20 September 2011, Environment Agency officers returned to the farm. As they walked around the site, officers observed two further areas where contaminated waste had been deposited. One consisted of heavily contaminated soil and the other consisted of 30 separate deposits of contaminated construction and demolition waste and contaminated soil in three separate piles.

The total amount of waste estimated to have been deposited at Scraptoft Farm was 2,000 tonnes.

Speaking after the case, an Environment Agency officer in charge of the investigation said: “There was a high level of contamination in the waste at this site. Storing or disposing of waste on land which does not have an environmental permit or exemption in place is illegal. It can cause harm to the environment and undercut legitimate businesses. In these types of cases we will not hesitate to prosecute where circumstance warrant it.”

In mitigation, a representative of MJ City Skip Hire told the Court that all the contaminated waste had since been removed to the satisfaction of the Environment Agency and that the company had now put measures in place to ensure that this incident was never repeated. A representative for Mr Kainth stated that as he was not present on the farm when the deposits were made, he simply did not realise that the material deposited was contaminated.

In passing sentence, the Court stated that the offences were serious, the amount of waste substantial and that the actions of both parties had been prompted by financial motives.

July 12,2012

The owner of a waste transfer station was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay full prosecution costs of £5,270 by Lincoln Magistrates’ Court

The fine was reduced to £8,000 on appeal at a hearing on 8 February 2013 at Lincoln Crown Court.

Clifford Page pleaded guilty to accepting waste asbestos in breach of a condition of his permit, storing and transporting the asbestos in an unsafe way.

Magistrates were told that Page accepted waste asbestos from five different sources onto his site at Lissinglea House Farm, Lissington, Lincoln in the summer of 2011.

In September 2011 two Environment Agency officers found two open skips containing asbestos at the Lissington site. The skips contained a mixture of white, blue and brown asbestos and were stored one on top of the other. The top skip was not covered properly and asbestos in the lower skip was broken, risking the release of fibres.

The officers raised concerns with an employee about the unpermitted asbestos storage.

Later in September 2011 Page bulked up the asbestos into one large skip and took it to a legitimate asbestos landfill.

Mrs Anne-Lise McDonald told the court that asbestos should be sealed in plastic and stored and transported in a closed skip. She said that CCTV footage at the landfill showed the asbestos was transported uncovered. The accompanying paperwork was ‘muddled’, she said.

Page admitted putting the two skips together at his waste transfer site but thought the top skip effectively covered the bottom one.

Mr Mark McNeil said in mitigation that Page had not intended to cause damage to the environment.


Clifford Page pleaded guilty to:

1. Between 2 June 2011 and 20 September 2011 at Lissinglea House Farm, Lissington, Lincoln LN3 5AG, you failed to comply with Condition 1.2.1 and Appendix A of an Environmental Permit reference EA/WML/73208, in that you accepted waste asbestos which is not a permitted waste under Appendix A of the said Permit.

Contrary to Regulation 38(2) Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010

Fined £20,000

2. On or about 19 September 2011 you, being a person who carries controlled waste, failed in your duty to take all such measures applicable to you in that capacity as were reasonable in the circumstances to prevent the escape of waste asbestos from your control.

Contrary to section 34(1)(b) and section 34(6) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990

No separate penalty

06-Sep-2012

Lincolnshire company L J Fairburn, one of the largest egg producers in the UK, has been fined a total 65,000 GBP for operating without the required environmental permits.

The company has also been ordered to pay full costs of £9,500.

Skegness Magistrates’ Court heard today (Wed) that Fairburn ran five sites across the county with more than 40,000 birds each over varying times between 1 February 2007 to 17 February 2012 without being authorised by an environmental permit.

It heard that at one time Back Lane Poultry Unit at Bilsby had more than four times the number of birds it should have, at one time numbering 186,810.

Magistrates were told that any unit with more than 40,000 places for poultry needs to be permitted. The five Fairburn sites without permits were Belchford Farm, Belchford; Marsh Farm, Burgh-le-Marsh; Burgh-le-Marsh Poultry Unit, Burgh-le-Marsh; Back Lane Poultry Unit, Bilsby and Batchelor Farm, Woodhall Spa.

Mrs Anne-Lise McDonald, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, explained that a poultry permit is granted subject to a number of conditions to protect the environment and local communities from the effects of ammonia and methane emissions; particulates that can affect human health; and slurries, wash waters, fuels and chemicals with the potential to pollute.

She said that L J Fairburn failed to apply for permits in 2010 even when the company found out that they were required.

Mrs McDonald said the company had also avoided annual subsistence fees of over £47,000.

The court also heard that one of the sites, Batchelor Farm, was near to three sites of special scientific interest (SSSI) and there was limited evidence of manure being stored without proper precautions.

Nigel Burn for the company said that they were embarrassed by the failure to have permits. The farms are now compliant with permitting rules.

After the hearing, Environment Agency officer Rebecca Tremain said: “We regulate intensive agricultural operations in order to protect human health and the environment. Operating without permits means that these risks were not assessed or regulated.”


L J Fairburn pleaded guilty to and was fined £5,000 on each:

1. Between 15 February 2008 and 5 April 2008 at Belchford Farm, Narrow Lane, Belchford, Horncastle Lincolnshire you did operate an installation for the rearing of poultry intensively with more than 40,000 places for poultry after the prescribed date (1 February 2007) for that installation, an activity within Schedule 1, Part 1, Chapter 6, Section 6.9 Part A(1) of the Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations 2000, without being authorised by a permit granted by the regulator pursuant to Regulation 9(1) of the said Regulations.

Contrary to Regulation 32(1)(a) and 9(1) Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations 2000

2. Between 6 April 2008 and 5 April 2010 at Belchford Farm, Narrow Lane, Belchford, Horncastle Lincolnshire you did operate an installation for the rearing of poultry intensively with more than 40,000 places for poultry, an activity within Schedule 1, Part 1, Chapter 6, Section 6.9 Part A(1) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2007, without being authorised by a permit granted by the regulator pursuant to Regulation 13 of the said Regulations.

Contrary to Regulation 38(1)(a) and 12 Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2007

3. Between 6 April 2010 and 17 February 2012 at Belchford Farm, Narrow Lane, Belchford, Horncastle Lincolnshire you did operate an installation for the rearing of poultry intensively with more than 40,000 places for poultry, an activity within Schedule 1, Part 2, Chapter 6, Section 6.9 Part A(1) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010, without being authorised by a permit granted by the regulator pursuant to Regulation 13 of the said Regulations.

Contrary to Regulation 38(1)(a) and 12 Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010

4. Between 19 April 2011 and 29 December 2011 at Marsh Farm, Younger’s Lane, Burgh le Marsh, Skegness Lincolnshire you did operate an installation for the rearing of poultry intensively with more than 40,000 places for poultry, an activity within Schedule 1, Part 2, Chapter 6, Section 6.9 Part A(1) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010, without being authorised by a permit granted by the regulator pursuant to Regulation 13 of the said Regulations.

Contrary to Regulation 38(1)(a) and 12 Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010

5. Between 2 February 2007 and 5 April 2008 at Burgh Le Marsh Poultry Unit, Younger’s Lane, Burgh le Marsh, Skegness Lincolnshire you did operate an installation for the rearing of poultry intensively with more than 40,000 places for poultry after the prescribed date (1 February 2007) for that installation, an activity within Schedule 1, Part 1, Chapter 6, Section 6.9 Part A(1) of the Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations 2000, without being authorised by a permit granted by the regulator pursuant to Regulation 9(1) of the said Regulations.

Contrary to Regulation 32(1)(a) and 9(1) Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations 2000

6. Between 6 April 2008 and 5 April 2010 at Burgh Le Marsh Poultry Unit, Younger’s Lane, Burgh le Marsh, Skegness Lincolnshire you did operate an installation for the rearing of poultry intensively with more than 40,000 places for poultry, an activity within Schedule 1, Part 1, Chapter 6, Section 6.9 Part A(1) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2007, without being authorised by a permit granted by the regulator pursuant to Regulation 13 of the said Regulations.

Contrary to Regulation 38(1)(a) and 12 Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2007

7. Between 6 April 2010 and 30 November 2011 at Burgh Le Marsh Poultry Unit, Younger’s Lane, Burgh le Marsh, Skegness Lincolnshire you did operate an installation for the rearing of poultry intensively with more than 40,000 places for poultry, an activity within Schedule 1, Part 2, Chapter 6, Section 6.9 Part A(1) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010, without being authorised by a permit granted by the regulator pursuant to Regulation 13 of the said Regulations.

Contrary to Regulation 38(1)(a) and 12 Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010

8. Between 1 February 2007 and 5 April 2008 at Back Lane Poultry Unit, Bilsby, Alford Lincolnshire you did operate an installation for the rearing of poultry intensively with more than 40,000 places for poultry after the prescribed date (1 February 2007) for that installation, an activity within Schedule 1, Part 1, Chapter 6, Section 6.9 Part A(1) of the Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations 2000, without being authorised by a permit granted by the regulator pursuant to Regulation 9(1) of the said Regulations.

Contrary to Regulation 32(1)(a) and 9(1) Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations 2000

9. Between 6 April 2008 and 5 April 2010 at Back Lane Poultry Unit, Bilsby, Alford Lincolnshire you did operate an installation for the rearing of poultry intensively with more than 40,000 places for poultry, an activity within Schedule 1, Part 1, Chapter 6, Section 6.9 Part A(1) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2007, without being authorised by a permit granted by the regulator pursuant to Regulation 13 of the said Regulations.

Contrary to Regulation 38(1)(a) and 12 Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2007

10. Between 6 April 2010 and 16 December 2011 at Back Lane Poultry Unit, Bilsby, Alford Lincolnshire you did operate an installation for the rearing of poultry intensively with more than 40,000 places for poultry, an activity within Schedule 1, Part 2, Chapter 6, Section 6.9 Part A(1) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010, without being authorised by a permit granted by the regulator pursuant to Regulation 13 of the said Regulations.

Contrary to Regulation 38(1)(a) and 12 Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010

11. Between 22 February 2008 and 5 April 2008 at Batchelor Farm, Hornccastle Road, Woodhall Spa Lincolnshire you did operate an installation for the rearing of poultry intensively with more than 40,000 places for poultry after the prescribed date (1 February 2007) for that installation, an activity within Schedule 1, Part 1, Chapter 6, Section 6.9 Part A(1) of the Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations 2000, without being authorised by a permit granted by the regulator pursuant to Regulation 9(1) of the said Regulations.

Contrary to Regulation 32(1)(a) and 9(1) Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations 2000

12. Between 6 April 2008 and 5 April 2010 at Batchelor Farm, Hornccastle Road, Woodhall Spa Lincolnshire you did operate an installation for the rearing of poultry intensively with more than 40,000 places for poultry, an activity within Schedule 1, Part 1, Chapter 6, Section 6.9 Part A(1) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2007, without being authorised by a permit granted by the regulator pursuant to Regulation 13 of the said Regulations.

Contrary to Regulation 38(1)(a) and 12 Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2007

13. Between 6 April 2010 and 23 December 2011 at Batchelor Farm, Hornccastle Road, Woodhall Spa Lincolnshire you did operate an installation for the rearing of poultry intensively with more than 40,000 places for poultry, an activity within Schedule 1, Part 2, Chapter 6, Section 6.9 Part A(1) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010, without being authorised by a permit granted by the regulator pursuant to Regulation 13 of the said Regulations.

Contrary to Regulation 38(1)(a) and 12 Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010

Also taken into consideration by the court:

1. Between 25 March 2010 and 5 April 2010 at Lodge farm, Louth Road, West Ashby, Lincolnshire you did knowingly cause the operation of an installation for the rearing of poultry intensively with more than 40,000 places for poultry, an activity within Schedule 1, Part 1, Chapter 6, Section 6.9 Part A(1) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2007, without being authorised by a permit granted by the regulator pursuant to Regulation 13 of the said Regulations.

Contrary to Regulation 12 and 38(1)(a)Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2007

2. Between 6 April 2010 and 16 March 2012 at Lodge farm, Louth Road, West Ashby, Lincolnshire you did knowingly cause the operation of an installation for the rearing of poultry intensively with more than 40,000 places for poultry, an activity within Schedule 1, Part 2, Chapter 6, Section 6.9 Part A(1) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010, without being authorised by a permit granted by the regulator pursuant to Regulation 13 of the said Regulations.

Contrary to Regulation 12(1)(a) and 38(1)(b) Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010

26-Sep-2012

A waste company and one of its officers have been ordered to pay a total of £19960 in fines, costs and victim surcharges.

The defendants faced two allegations each, first for failing to comply with the conditions of their environmental permit and secondly failing to comply with a regulation 36 Environmental Permitting Regulations notice to remove the excessive waste from the site by the 17 August 2011.

Teale Waste Management Ltd were fined £7000 for each of the two offences, ordered to pay a contribution to prosecution costs of £3130 and a victim surcharge of £15. Barry Medlicott senior, 52 of 9 Selborne Way, Whitehill, Bordon was fined £750 for each offence, ordered to pay a contribution to prosecution costs in the sum of £1000 and a £15 victim surcharge. He was also disqualified from being a company director for a period of two years.

Teale Waste Management Ltd operates a waste transfer station in Rosewood, Hampshire. The environmental permit, initially granted to the land owner Alan Bray, was transferred over to Teale Waste Management Ltd in early February 2011.

The Andover Magistrate Court heard how the defendants received repeated advice and warnings to comply with the permit conditions however they continually failed to bring the site into compliance as requested. The Environment Agency officers found the waste levels at the Rosewood site consistently exceeded the fence height. On one survey they found piles were reaching 5.5m (17.5ft) above the general concrete ground, with the volume of 1500 cubic metres, the equivalent to roughly 100 lorry loads of waste. This, along with poorly maintained litter netting, risked windblown litter escaping the site boundaries. The defendants’ poor management of the site and the lack of regular turnaround of the waste attracted rats onto the site along with consequent health risks. Other breaches included prohibited waste storage in skips outside of the site and burning of waste materials.

Gill May, Investigating Officer at the Environment Agency remarked, “The Environmental permit conditions are in place to ensure that waste facilities do not cause pollution to the environment, harm to human health and operations do not become seriously detrimental to the amenities of the locality.”

“The defendants repeatedly failed to co-operate with the Environment Agency to improve their management of the site. The sentence of the court sends out a clear message to operators to co-operate with the Environment Agency and also comply with their environmental permit conditions.”

 

29-Oct-2012

Hundreds of fish died when 13.5kms of river was polluted by liquid fertiliser, Grantham magistrates heard today (Monday 29 October).

Robert Grindal, trading as CJ Grindal, was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £6,761 after pleading guilty to causing the pollution, which happened when a tractor towing a bowser carrying liquid fertiliser tipped over into a ditch.

The ditch at Manor Farm, North Witham, Grantham, joins a tributary of the River Witham before joining the river itself.

The court heard that approximately 6,000 litres of fertiliser was lost, causing a pollution with an environmental impact that the Environment Agency categorised as the most serious.

Mrs Claire Corfield, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, said that the pollution had a devastating effect on the fish population with an estimate of over 700 brown trout killed as well as many smaller fish species.

She said that on the day of the incident Grindal did not follow the advice of an Environment Agency officer who asked him to block off the receiving watercourse. Had this been done, the impact would have been significantly reduced.

Magistrates were told that emergency procedures in place on the farm at the time were inadequate. Staff were not trained on environmental risks and relied on Grindal in an emergency. However, he did not know what to do in the event of a major spill and was unaware at the time of the polluting effects of fertiliser.

Mrs Corfield added that the incident also had a major impact on other people as the Grantham Angling Association had to close its waters upstream of Grantham to fishing.

After the hearing Environment Agency officer, Adam Glassford, said: “This was a very serious incident with devastating effects on the environment. The effects could have been minimised had there been proper plans in place for fertiliser spills.

“Anyone who handles, stores or transports materials that could cause pollution should have procedures in place to prevent and minimise such pollution from occurring.”

Robert Grindal trading as CJ Grindal pleaded guilty to:

- On or about 10 April 2012, off Stamford Road, near North Witham, Grantham, Lincolnshire, you did cause poisonous, noxious or polluting matter to enter inland freshwaters, namely a ditch connected to a tributary of the River Witham, without being authorised by an environmental permit

- Contrary to Regulation 12(1)(b) and 38(1)(a) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010

15-Feb-2013

Three waste firms from Kent and one director have been fined £233,670 after pleading guilty to charges related to the illegal deposit of waste on golf courses and farms in Kent and East Sussex.

On Tuesday 30 October 2012 Countrystyle Recycling Limited, FGS AGRI Limited and the owner and director of both companies Trevor Heathcote pleaded guilty to multiple charges relating to the illegal deposit of waste between January and July 2011 in Kent and East Sussex.

Countrystyle Recycling Limited and Trevor Heathcote also pleaded guilty to Duty of Care offences associated with the movement of screening ‘fines’, the waste produced by the processing of skip and dustcart waste at their waste transfer stations at Folkestone and Strood during the same period.

As part of the same investigation, haulier Mark Luck Limited from Swanley, Kent had previously pleaded guilty at Chatham Magistrates Court on 28 August 2012 to depositing waste screening fines from the two Countrystyle sites on a golf course using fraudulent Duty of Care notes.

Canterbury Magistrates’ Court heard that Countrystyle Recycling Limited was identified as tipping waste screening fines on a driving range in Chatham and an inert landfill in Maidstone in the autumn of 2010. The waste was not suitable for these sites and the accompanying paperwork inaccurately described the waste as soil. Environment Agency staff advised the company of these failings, but a subsequent investigation identified waste screening fines from the Folkestone and Strood waste transfer stations were illegally deposited on at least three sites between January and July 2011.

In the first three months of 2011, Mark Luck Limited removed waste screening fines from both waste sites, which the related Duty of Care notes falsely described as soils. This enabled the company to dispose of the waste at Deansgate Golf Course at Hoo St Werburgh near Strood for £60 a lorry. Lorry loads of screening fines should cost between £275 and £330 to dispose at an appropriate landfill.

The Environment Agency identified that such waste had been tipped on the golf course but due to the fraudulent paperwork could not identify the source at the time as being Countrystyle’s waste transfer stations. Mark Luck Limited stopped moving waste for Countrystyle Recycling Limited in March 2011after it was seen to tip the waste.

The Environment Agency investigation subsequently discovered several instances of screening fines being removed from Countrystyle’s Folkestone site without the correct paperwork being completed, without the correct rate being paid for the disposal of the waste and the waste that had been removed was being described incorrectly.

Between May and June 2011, the Countrystyle Recycling Limited Director Trevor Heathcote oversaw 29 lorry loads of screening fines to be moved from the Strood Waste Transfer Station to his farm and the operating base for his agricultural contracting firm FGS AGRI Limited at Stanford Bridge Farm, Pluckley, Kent. The two businesses are closely linked with waste from Countrystyle Recycling Limited and Countrystyle group being spread on large areas of land controlled by FGS AGRI Limited for agricultural benefit.

29 lorry loads of waste, which were identified as being inaccurately described as aggregates on the Duty of Care documentation, were deposited on the farm next to the River Beult and spread between an arable field and ponds. Analysis confirmed that this waste had the potential to pollute the ground and watercourse and it was removed. The waste was tipped on the farm at no cost, whereas legitimate disposal of the waste would have cost between £275 and £330 per lorry load.

Inaccurately labelled waste was also tipped at a waste processing site in Rye, East Sussex.

Jamie Hamilton, the investigating Environment Agency Officer, said: “The Environment Agency will not tolerate large waste companies failing in their Duty of Care, manipulating their paperwork or illegally depositing polluting waste for financial gain.

“Waste crime puts the environment and human health at risk and undermines legitimate businesses. The waste industry is well aware of its responsibilities with regards to the disposal of waste screening fines. Companies that subsequently make the decision to use sites such as golf courses, farms and inappropriate waste sites for the cheap disposal of such waste should not be surprised when they are prosecuted.”

In mitigation, the defence indicated full culpability on behalf of Trevor Heathcote and the companies involved, and stated their intention to strengthen their internal procedures and put Trevor Heathcote through a series of internal and external training programmes, including one provided by the Waste Management Industry Training and Advisory Board.

 

08-Nov-2012

The owners of a North Devon dairy farm have been ordered to pay £5,623 in fines and costs for polluting a stream near a popular coastal beauty spot.

The case was brought by the Environment Agency.

In January 2012 the Agency was contacted by a member of the public after they saw pollution in the Speke’s Mill Stream near Hartland. The stream runs through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and discharges into the sea via a spectacular 60ft waterfall at Speke’s Mill Mouth. This stretch of the North Devon coastline is especially popular with walkers and surfers.

An Agency officer saw the stream was heavily discoloured and smelled of slurry. A dark brown effluent was discharging from a pipe on the left bank of the watercourse just below Welsford Bridge.

The pollution was traced to Welsford Farm where a slurry store was found to be ‘brim full’. There was a pool of slurry on the ground beside the store. The slurry had run down a bank into a ditch before draining under a gateway and into the Speke’s Mill Stream.

The owner of Welsford Farm, Mr Paul Colwill, said there were 450 cows at the farm – 380 of which were used for milking. They were housed indoors for six months of the year. Mr Colwill said wet weather had prevented the spreading slurry on the land and this had caused the store to fill up. He had delayed spreading to avoid run-off and pollution.

The slurry store was built approximately 14 years ago when the farm had 350 cows. The owners had since covered more of the yard to reduce the amount of rainwater entering the storage lagoon. This had increased its capacity. However, the lagoon had not been emptied since before the winter reducing its capacity.

‘This pollution was the result of not so much a lack of storage capacity, but poor management. We accept the farm was reluctant to spread slurry with heavy rain forecast, but they should have realised the storage lagoon was close to overtopping and acted much sooner to reduce the risk of pollution,’ said Liz Iles for the Environment Agency.

Approximately a mile of the Speke’s Mill Stream was polluted as a result of the slurry spill.

BR, MJ & PJ Colwill, the partnership operating Welsford Farm at Hartland near Bideford, Devon was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £1,623 costs after pleading guilty to discharging poisonous, noxious or polluting matter to a tributary of the Speke’s Mill Stream on or about January 10, 2012, an offence under the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010. The case was heard by Barnstaple magistrates yesterday (Nov 7).

16-Nov-2012

On Wednesday 14 November, Eddie Stobart Group Limited pleaded guilty at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court to one charge of causing a water discharge, namely ammonia, into the Cuttail Brook.

The company were fined £30,000, ordered to pay £4040.29 in costs, along with a £15 victim surcharge.

The charge was brought by the Environment Agency under the Environmental Permitting Regulations (England and Wales) 2010.

Eddie Stobart Group Limited occupy premises at the Sherwood Business Park at Annesley, Nottinghamshire.

Following a report of pollution on 1 August 2011, an Environment Agency officer attended the Sherwood Business Park to inspect several ponds and the Cuttail Brook which run through the business park. The officer observed a large number of dead fish around the margins of one of the ponds. When he checked the inlet valve to the pond he found a steady flow of clean water and there was also a strong smell of ammonia. Ammonia is very soluble in water and is toxic to fish.

A number of samples were taken from the pond where the dead fish were found. Analysis of these samples found that the levels of ammonia in the water were much higher than normal. Officers then checked the surface water drainage system serving the business park to locate the source of the ammonia. Upon lifting a manhole cover outside the site, a strong smell of odour was detected. Ammonia was smelt again when a manhole cover on the surface water drainage system in Willow Drive, near Eddie Stobart’s premises, was lifted.

Eddie Stobart’s premises were inspected by Environment Agency officers as they were known to use ammonia in their refrigeration system. It was established that there had been a problem with the refrigeration system on the site resulting in a loss of compressor oil.

All of the other companies on the business park which drain surface water into the pond were visited and none were found to have lost any ammonia.

An intensive clean up operation was undertaken shortly after by the Environment Agency, Severn Trent Water Limited and contractors appointed by Eddie Stobart.

Speaking after the case, an Environment Agency officer in charge of the investigation said, “This pollution resulted in the death of over 1,000 fish in an area which is popular with anglers and also near to a Site of Special Scientific Interest. We take cases of pollution to watercourses very seriously due to the environmental damage that can be caused. In this case we considered all the relevant factors and decided that a prosecution would be an appropriate course of action on this occasion.”

In mitigation a solicitor representing Eddie Stobart Group Limited told the court that the pollution that occurred was not a deliberate act and the refrigeration system that caused the pollution was well maintained by an expert and authorised contractor. The company has now put a new system in place so that the incident could never happen again. They went on to say that the company takes it environmental responsibilities seriously and they admitted responsibility at the earliest opportunity.

The cost of restoration has been met by the company and all parties who carried out the cleanup have been compensated.

 

22-Nov-2012

The Environment Agency is warning residents and companies in and around Barnsley that they could be fined if they use two skip hire and waste management companies after their permits were revoked for environmental offences.

The decision to revoke the permits of Grantscope Limited and RG Wastecare Limited was made following a prosecution by the Environment Agency, after surveillance showed the companies were regularly disposing of waste by burning it at their site at Boulder Bridge, Shaw Lane, Carlton, Barnsley.

On 4 January 2012 Barnsley Magistrates found the two companies guilty of these environmental offences and they were ordered to pay fines of £10,000 each.

The companies had appealed to the Planning Inspectorate against the revocation of their environmental permit in April 2012. However, on 20 November 2012 the Inspector upheld the Environment Agency’s decision and confirmed the permit revocation for the waste transfer station should stand.

The Planning Inspector also agreed with the Environment Agency’s decision to remove both companies’ registrations as waste carriers, which previously allowed them to legally transport waste.

Ian Harrison of the Environment Agency said: “After the January prosecution we carried out an assessment to decide whether the companies were competent to continue operating. We decided that the impact of the offences had been serious and that the risk of the companies re-offending was significant enough to revoke their permit.

“Following the Planning Inspectorate decision the permit revocation is now in effect, and the companies are not legally allowed to transport or accept waste. Householders should be aware that using an unregistered waste carrier to take away their waste could result in fines of up to £5,000, and for businesses the fines could be even higher. Information on registered waste carriers can be found on the Environment Agency website.”

The companies also use a number of trading names, including Star Skips and Mad Metals.

11-Dec-2012

Yesterday, East Midlands Demolition Limited of Duffield Road, Little Eaton, Derby, was sentenced at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court to charges relating to the illegal deposit of hazardous waste. The company pleaded guilty at an earlier Court hearing.

The company was fined £11,000.00 ordered to pay £4,398.92 in costs, along with a £15 victim surcharge.

The charges were brought by the Environment Agency under Section 33 and 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Prosecuting for the Environment Agency, Kiran Cassini told the Court that on 6 September 2010, the Environment Agency was made aware of noise and dust coming from a site owned by Evans Concrete Limited, Pye Bridge Industrial Estate, Alfreton. Officers attended and observed that the land on the site appeared to have been raised by approximately one metre. Officers spoke to the managing director of the company and he indicated that tarmac had been brought onto the site by East Midlands Demolition Ltd to create a hardstanding area for storage on the site.

Environment Agency officers checked waste transfer notes provided by Evans Concrete Limited and found that East Midlands Demolition Limited originally removed the waste from Cavendish Junior School on 10 and 11 August 2010. The waste was described as ‘tarmac’ and 720 tonnes of it had been imported onto the Evans Concrete Limited site.

It transpired that Derby City Council were resurfacing the playground at Cavendish Junior School and needed to dispose of waste tarmac. Initially one load was taken to a tip by a contractor but was rejected because it failed a test that indicated the presence coal tar. The presence of coal tar within the tarmac meant that it was classed as hazardous waste. It would have cost around £100,000 to legally dispose of the waste through the first contractor so Derby City Council contacted other contractors.

East Midlands Demolition Limited was approached and they indicated that they could recycle the coal tar contaminated tarmac for around £14,500 and so arrangements were made for them to carry out the removal. Derby City Council arranged for samples of the tarmac to be tested by a specialist firm. The samples confirmed the presence of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons within the waste that meant it was classed as hazardous. By the time the sample analysis had been published, East Midlands Demolition Limited had already removed the waste. However, East Midlands Demolition Limited had previously been made aware that the tarmac was contaminated with coal tar.

The waste was subsequently treated by specialist contractors, funded by East Midlands Demolition Limited and Derby City Council.

Speaking after the case, an Environment Agency officer in charge of the investigation said: “East Midlands Demolition Ltd should have known that the waste they were recycling was classed as hazardous. Their actions meant that another company, in this case Evans Concrete Limited, also fell foul of environmental legislation.”

In mitigation the Court was told that the Company did not appreciate that the presence of coal tar meant that the tarmac was hazardous. The price that they quoted was for the removal of ordinary tarmac. The company had since changed working practices to ensure that thorough checks were made before quotes for removal were given. The company had enjoyed a previous clean record and apologised to the Court for the part that they played in the incident.

In passing sentence the Court stated that the company had acted recklessly and that their actions had initially been prompted by financial motives. However, the Court acknowledged that the Company had incurred a greater sum in putting matters right. The Court took into account the Company’s previous good record, their cooperation with the Environment Agency and their early guilty plea.

 

19-Dec-2012

United Utilities has been fined £14,000 after a significant quantity of sewage was discharged over the course of more than 37 hours into the River Lune at Lancaster.

The Environment Agency successfully secured a prosecution at a court case heard at Lancaster Magistrates Court on Friday 14 December.

United Utilities pleaded guilty to causing an unauthorised water discharge activity and failing to comply with a condition of its environmental permit. at its Willow Lane Pumping Station, Lancaster. The company was also ordered to pay costs of £2,423.79.

The Court heard that on or about 20 August 2011 at Willow Lane Pumping Station United Utilities estimated that over 10,000m3 of sewage, was discharged into the River Lune at an environmentally sensitive location and the discharge continued for more than 37 hours.

The failure to replace a standby pump and the failure of an alarm system to activate were found to have contributed to this incident.

The discharge occurred 1.5km upstream from the Lune Estuary, which is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Special Protection Area, a Special Area of Conservation and RAMSAR site.

Investigation by the Environment Agency found the discharge would have impacted on nearby bathing waters and shellfish waters. There was also the potential for harm to recreational users of water, including bathers, as the discharge continued in dry weather.

In mitigation, the court heard that United Utilities had reported the incident to the Environment Agency and co-operated throughout the investigation.

Sean Wannop of the Environment Agency, said: “The discharge of a significant quantity of sewage had the potential to have a major impact on the surrounding waters. This incident may have been avoided if United Utilities had acted sooner in replacing the damaged standby pump.”

“This case once again illustrates that the Environment Agency will not hesitate to take action where companies fail to adhere to the terms of their pemit.”

11-Jan-2013

Suffolk malt producer, Pauls Malt Ltd, has been fined £20,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £6,475 for causing oil pollution to the River Lark.

Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court heard today (Thursday) that gas fuel oil escaped from a tank at Pauls Malt’s premises on Eastern Way, Bury St Edmunds. The oil entered the River Lark via a surface water outfall, polluting the river and killing dozens of fish.

Mrs Corfield, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, explained that a secondary metal oil tank on site was surrounded by a brick bund. A pipe passed through the bund wall and ended approximately one metre from a surface water drain. The joint between the bund wall and the pipe was not effectively sealed and oil had escaped and entered the drain which led to the River Lark.

The court heard that the secondary tank was filled from two outdoor bulk tanks and filling was controlled solely by an automated float valve. The incident was caused by the float valve malfunctioning causing oil to flow continuously to the secondary tank and discharge from the overflow pipe.

Mrs Corfield said that the company did not have risk reduction measures in place to check and maintain the secondary tank, bund and float valve and they knew the float valve was not a fail safe system.

Mrs Corfield told the court that the oil leak caused a serious environmental impact on the River Lark for at least 3.7kms downstream. At least 47 fish were killed and over 100 fish were observed in distress. There was also an impact on air-breathing and surface-dwelling invertebrates and the pollution caused public concern affecting the amenity of the area through appearance and smell.

In mitigation, Ms Kate Kelleher, barrister, said that the incident happened when engineers were on site testing the boilers in preparation for winter in the event of disruption to the gas supply. The company spent £106,304 on the clean up and maintenance costs and has approved further works at a cost of £11,000 to prevent recurrence.

After the hearing, Environment Agency officer Ross McIntyre said: “This pollution and these fish deaths could have been avoided if adequate preventative measures had been in place for the oil tank.”


Pauls Malt Ltd pleaded guilty to:

1. On or about 22 November 2011, at 24-25 Eastern Way, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP32 7AD you caused poisonous, noxious or polluting matter, namely gas fuel oil, to enter inland freshwaters, namely the River Lark, without being authorised by an environmental permit.

Contrary to Regulation 12(1)(b) and 38(1)(a) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales Regulations 2010.

01-Feb-2013

A recycling company has today been ordered to pay £27,244 in fines and costs for illegally storing almost 100,000 waste tyres at a warehouse in East Devon.

The case was brought by the Environment Agency.

Devon-based Recycled Construction Systems Ltd had previously been found guilty at Exeter Crown Court of illegally depositing and storing 96,000 waste tyres at Westerhope Units, Dunkeswell. The company was one of several defendants in the South West’s largest ever waste crime investigation.

At a sentencing hearing today, Judge Philip Wassall, described it as a ‘serious offence’ involving a very large number of tyres. ‘The law is there for a reason and the Environment Agency had a duty to investigate,’ he said. The company, which is no longer trading, was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £26,244 costs.

A former partner in RCS, Tom Dunn, of Cutsey, Taunton, was given a two year Conditional Discharge and ordered to pay £5,400 costs after being found guilty, at the earlier trial, of illegally exporting thousands of waste tyres to Vietnam.

At the sentencing hearing, Judge Wassall, said Dunn had ‘chanced it and been caught out’ when he decided to flout Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations and export waste tyres to Vietnam.

By imposing a Conditional Discharge, the judge said he had taken into account the ‘considerable impact’ the investigations had had on Dunn and his family. ‘If you come back and are convicted of further waste offences, the court will take a very different view. I can promise you that.’

Dunn, 26, was among five defendants who were found or pleaded guilty to environmental offences following Operation Hemlock, a major investigation into large-scale illegal waste activities led by the Environment Agency’s South West Environmental Crime Team.

Other defendants included Nicholas Gauntlett who pleaded guilty to operating an unlicensed waste site at a farm near Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire. The case against Gauntlett was adjourned pending the outcome of a Proceeds of Crime confiscation application by the Environment Agency.

Carl Steele of Deeping St Nicholas, Lincolnshire pleaded guilty to depositing waste tyres at Gauntlet’s farm. Steele has already received a six-month supervision order at an earlier hearing at Lincoln Crown Court and had previously been imprisoned for a series of waste tyre offences across the UK.

The court heard how thousands of tyre bales formed from waste tyres had been used to construct schooling facilities and training gallops at several equestrian centres across the westcountry. The defendants argued that the bales were buried to improve drainage and provide a springy surface for horses to train on. Each bale contains up to 100 waste tyres held together with steel wires.

The prosecution argued that the tyre bales were waste as they did not meet the relevant technical standards. Many sites lacked planning permissions and in some cases landowners were paid to accept the bales.

Dunn was acquitted of four offences of depositing waste at two equestrian sites. This included a South Devon equestrian centre where Dartmoor National Park Planning Authority served an Enforcement Notice requiring 130,000 tyres to be removed at the landowners expense. Two other defendants were also acquitted of related offences including running an illegal waste site at one of the equestrian centres and failing to keep waste tyres secure.

The offences near Chipping Sodbury involved the use of bales to create a track and drainage area. Owner of the farm, Nick Gauntlett also used in excess of 3,800 bales (380,000 tyres) to construct a horse gallop at the site. In December 2010, South Gloucestshire Council Planners served a Planning Enforcement Notice requiring the removal of many of the tyre bales from the farm.

Inquiries by the Agency revealed that in addition to supplying tyre bales to equestrian centres, Dunn was also illegally exporting waste tyres to Vietnam. In 2009 an estimated 37,500 – 45,000 tyres were exported to Vietnam in 15 shipping containers. The export was organised from premises at MTR (Bristol) Ltd, of Sussex Street, Bristol – a site managed by Dunn. The containers went to Vietnam where the import of waste tyres is prohibited.

‘The illegal handling of waste tyres is a serious issue that affects the environment and undermines the legitimate tyre recycling industry. We take environmental crime very seriously and won’t hesitate to prosecute offenders ,’ said Andy Gardiner for the Environment Agency.

The cost to the Environment Agency of investigating and concluding this large and complex case was approximately £200,000. ‘These costs have been incurred in a bid to protect the environment and ensure a level playing field for the tyre recycling industry,’ said Andy Gardiner.

The Tyre Recovery Association (TRA) has praised ther Environment Agency for its efforts to combat waste crime.

‘Britain’s tyre recycling industry has suffered a severe battering at the hands of rogue operators and other opportunists. The activities of these waste criminals can be very damaging. We therefore welcome the efforts of the Environment Agency to combat some of the worst examples of waste crime. To its credit, the Agency recognises how important it is to protect legitimate operators from the activities of waste criminals and deserves our support,’ said a spokesman.

Photos from this investigation are available from the Environment Agency’s regional press office on 01392 442008.

Note to Editors:

• The Environment Agency uses relevant case law to help assess whether or not a substance or object has ceased to be waste but ultimately it is up to the courts to decide whether or not something is waste.
• Where tyre bales are used in an engineering structure as a genuine recovery activity, the Environment Agency no longer regards them as waste once they have been incorporated into a structure. This means the placing of the tyre bales into that engineering structure will need to be covered by an environmental permit or exemption unless one of the Agency’s regulatory positions apply because at that stage they are still waste.
• Since April 2010, the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010 have allowed the use of up to 50 tonnes of tyre bales produced in accordance with PAS 108: 2007 for use in construction under an exemption from licensing.

19-Feb-2013

The operators of one of the UK's largest anaerobic digestion plants have been ordered to pay almost £30,000 in fines and costs for polluting a Somerset stream with liquid waste in a case brought by the Environment Agency.

The liquid, known as digestate, escaped from a storage lagoon at Swang Farm, Cannington near Bridgwater where the defendants, Cannington Enterprises Ltd, operate an anaerobic digester producing electricity and digestate for spreading on farmland as a fertiliser.
Electricity generated at the plant is sold to the Grid and is also used at the site.

On February 15, 2012 a member of the public reported that a nearby ditch was full of ‘green slime’. Agency officers visited Swang Farm and found the pollution had come from a pipe beside three large digestate storage lagoons.

The pipe had broken free while digestate was being pumped from the anaerobic digestion plant. The pollution flowed into a trench and eventually into a stream which flows into the River Parrett. Approximately 60 tonnes of liquid digestate was lost during the incident. Liquid digestate causes de-oxygenation and can kill fish and invertebrates. Samples taken from the stream showed it was ‘grossly polluted’.

The anaerobic digestion plant began operating in 2010. In 2011 Cannington Enterprises Ltd applied to the Environment Agency to increase the amount of material it could handle to 100,000 tonnes a year.

The variation was approved and the site started taking in food wastes including animal by-products and segregated household wastes. The expansion of the business required the installation of three large digestate storage lagoons to allow the storage of digestate prior to it being spread on surrounding farmland. Approximately 100 tonnes of liquid digestate is pumped to the lagoons each day.

‘Poor site management by the operators resulted in a highly polluting liquid digestate escaping from a lagoon and into a local stream. We have taken strong enforcement action and matters have improved considerably since this pollution incident, but we will continue to closely regulate the plant and take further action if necessary,’ said Tim Loveday for the Environment Agency.

In a hearing at Taunton Magistrates’ Court, Cannington Enterprises Ltd, of Swang Farm, Cannington, Somerset, was fined a total of £25,000 and ordered to pay £4,500 costs after pleading guilty to two charges under the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010 including causing pollution and storing waste outside a permitted area.


A Director of the company, Mr Tim Roe, was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £1,000 costs after he also pleaded guilty to a further charge under the Environmental Permitting regulations 2010.

Magistrates said the fines reflected the seriousness of the offence and the fact the pollution could have had ‘disasterous’ consequences had it not been detected as early as it was. The bench recognised the company acted quickly to contain the aftermath of the pollution.

Anaerobic digestion of food and other organic wastes is a rapidly expanding sector of the waste industry that produces energy and helps reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. However, there are significant environmental risks as well as benefits and it is essential site operators fully comply with their permits to protect the environment.

 

20-Feb-2013

A Darlington man is to be banned from carrying waste as part of his business operations following a criminal conviction for waste crime offences.

The Environment Agency this month issued a notice to Tony Leigh Shepherd, who operated at Hackworth Industrial Park, Shildon, informing him that his waste carrier’s licence is to be revoked.

The revocation means that, from 9 March, Mr Shepherd can no longer transport waste as part of his business activities.

Mr Shepherd was convicted of waste offences last year. He had been running a waste transfer site at the industrial park without an appropriate environmental permit. An investigation by the Environment Agency led to him being convicted of an offence by Teesside Crown Court in July.

Mr Shepherd, who handled mixed commercial and construction waste, did have a licence to transport waste between sites, but this has now been revoked.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “The Environment Agency is determined to tackle illegal waste activity. Illegal waste operations cost us all by impacting on local communities, undermining legitimate businesses and damaging the environment.

“Anyone producing waste, whether they are a householder or a business, must only hand waste to an authorised person. Tony Shepherd will have no such authorisation from 9 March 2013.”

Waste Warning

The Environment Agency warning anyone who gives their waste to a company operating under this waste registration after 9 March 2013 that they could be breaking the law. Householders and businesses have a duty of care to take reasonable steps to check that people removing waste are legally allowed to do so.

Reasonable steps can include:
• Asking the waste carrier to provide you with their full address and telephone number;
• Taking a note of the registration number of the vehicle taking the waste away;
• Asking to see a waste carrier licence issued by the Environment Agency;

21-Feb-2013

A company which manages a Tyne and Wear landfill site has been fined £105,000 for failing to manage pollution from the site in line with environmental legislation.

Biffa Waste Services Ltd, which operates the landfill site in the former quarry at Houghton Le Spring, appeared before Sunderland Magistrates today (20 February), admitted five charges of breaching its environmental permit during 2010 and 2011.

The breaches relate to the firm’s control of a substance called leachate, a liquid produced by the decomposition of organic waste. Leachate, which contains toxic substances, is a common product of landfill sites and operators of waste sites are required to contain the substance to protect the surrounding environment.

David Brooke, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, told the court that Biffa’s management of the liquid running from the tip was inadequate. He said that Biffa had breached its permit by allowing leachate to escape from the site, and by failing to notify the Environment Agency about the pollution.

Leachate control is particularly important at Houghton Le Spring because the quarry is situated on a Magnesian Limestone aquifer that feeds into the drinking water supply to the City of Sunderland.

The Environment Agency, which issues the environmental permits that allow the firm to operate the waste site, carried out an investigation after pollutants were recorded in groundwater at nearby boreholes in April 2010. Investigations to determine the source of the pollution found leachate was leaking outside of the landfill’s protective lining wall.

Investigating officers believed this to have been caused by the construction of an access road in July 2009, which inadvertently provided a route for the leachate to pass over the protective walling.

In a separate incident leachate was seen spilling out of one of the site’s leachate storage tanks, creating a stream of the liquid on an area outside of the site’s protective barriers. This occurred because inadequate controls had been used by Biffa to prevent the tank from overfilling.

Graham Donachie, Pollution Prevention Team Leader at the Environment Agency, said: “We are pleased with the outcome of this case and believe it shows that this sort of environmental pollution, whether deliberate or not, will be treated seriously.

“There were a number of management failings on site at the time which contributed to the pollution and this case highlights the need for landfill operators to have in place effective and comprehensive operating and monitoring practices. It also highlights the need for operators to inform us when something on site happens that has the potential to damage the environment.”

In mitigation, Biffa told the court that it takes its environmental responsibilities seriously. It said it had co-operated fully in order to prevent further pollution, and that it had removed and reconstructed the access road in line with Environment Agency design guidance.

Biffa added that, although the aquifer was affected by the leachate, there would be no impact on the safety of the public drinking water. The firm is also required to drill more boreholes so that the spread of the contamination can be more accurately monitored.

Biffa was also ordered to pay £26,949.27 in costs, plus a victim surcharge of £15.

 

27-Feb-2013

Thousands of fish died and thousands more were damaged by agricultural chemicals that leaked into the River Nene in Peterborough, magistrates heard on Tuesday 26 February.

Some of them were bleached and others leapt from the water and died along the affected 50km stretch of water.

Chemical manufacturer and packaging company Safapac pleaded guilty at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court to causing the pollution on 18 June 2012 and claimed vandals damaged containers allowing 5,000 litres of three chemicals to get into drains.

The case has been sent to the crown court for sentence as magistrates felt their sentencing powers were insufficient.

Mrs Anne-Lise McDonald, prosecutor for the Environment Agency, told magistrates that the company reported the spill to them on a day when they had also taken 15 calls from people about distressed fish in the river. Investigators linked the two incidents.

Drainage plans held by the company at their Orton Southgate site and initially shown to environment officers showed a drain on site led to a foul sewer. Further investigation by the company identified that it was, in fact, a surface water drain which discharged to the river.

All three chemicals, an insecticide, a fungicide and a disinfectant, are known to be very toxic to aquatic organisms and can cause burns, drowsiness or dizziness to people. The effect on the River Nene was seen as far as Wisbech and cockle fishing in The Wash was quarantined and closed 19-21 June by the regulatory authority.

Mrs McDonald told the court that a survey at this time showed a ‘clear and substantial’ impact on all living things in the Orton Brook and River Nene for at least 14.7km.

The pollution had an impact along 46km of the brook and river.

Peterborough and District Angling Association had to cancel fishing matches and members also cancelled because of the pollution, costing the club £928. Two cockle fishermen claimed they lost more than £10,000. The total cost to the members of the Greater Wash Fishing Industries Group was estimated to be £216,772 as a result of the pollution.

Mrs McDonald told magistrates that the pollution could have been prevented if the chemicals had been stored securely. “Bulk containers containing the chemicals were stored in external bunkers near to the road. There was no bunding and no secondary containment in case of spills,” she said.

“There was an open drain in the storage area and another just outside.”

She told the court that Safapac’s high level risk assessment had failed to identify vandalism as a risk but on the morning of the pollution staff had arrived at work to find taps on the storage containers had been opened and a ladder had been used to get in.

Police records showed that the company had made five reports of criminal or anti-social behaviour directed at the company or in the immediate area since 2010 involving youths causing damage to or trespassing on Safapac’s property or metal theft.

A Safapac manager told investigating environment officers that staff had closed an emergency valve within 15 minutes of discovering shattered valve caps and police and the Environment Agency notified.

He said CCTV at the site was not recording at the time and the ladder used to get in had been stored on top of a container at the site.

Chemicals are now stored in locked shipping containers.

After the hearing Environment Agency officer Adam Shamma said: “This case should serve as a reminder to companies who handle chemicals to ensure their storage arrangements are adequate. Safapac would have prevented this incident if their chemicals had been stored in a secure, bunded area.

“Advice and guidance on pollution prevention is available on the Environment Agency’s website.”

04-Mar-2013

The owner of a Cornish scrapyard has been ordered to pay £4,494 in fines and costs for illegally burning waste including old tyres on Guy Fawkes Night. The case was brought by the Environment Agency.

A member of the public complained to the Agency after seeing a large plume of ‘thick black smoke’ billowing from Rundle’s Scrap Yard in Kelly Bray, Callington on November 5, 2011.
When an Agency officer visited the site she saw a large area of burnt ground in a field adjacent to the scrapyard. A digger machine was working nearby alongside two skips, one of which contained burnt metal and tyre rims.

When asked abouth the bonfire, Mrs Janet Rundle, replied, ‘It was Bonfire Night. What do you expect?’ Inspecting the scrapyard, the officer found a ‘huge pile’ of burnt out tyre rims. She suspected they had been brought back into the yard from the area around the bonfire.

The defendant said she had invited some children around to watch the fire as part of Guy Fawkes night celebrations. She had burnt an old caravan, some waste wood and a few tyres.

Rundle’s Scrapyard holds and Environment Agency waste management permit and is registered as a metal recycling facility.

Magistrates heard there had been previous incidents at the site relating to burning, illegal waste disposal and pollution. The Guy Fawkes bonfire was seen by three independent witnesses, one of whom noticed billowing black smoke coming from the site as he was walking with two of his children and a friend to a firework display at Callington College. They didn’t see any fireworks at the scrapyard.

‘This was an attempt to dispose of waste on Guy Fawkes Night. Smoke from burning tyres poses a risk to human health and the environment and is prohibited under the terms of this site’s waste permit. The defendant would have saved on disposal costs and would therefore have gained financially by getting rid of these tyres on a bonfire,’ said Clarissa Newell for the Environment Agency.

Appearing before Bodmin magistrates on Wednesday (Feb 27), Janet Rundle, of Rundles Scrap Yard, Redimoor Road, Kelly Bray, Callington, Cornwall was fined £2,000. and ordered to pay £2,479 costs after pleading guilty to disposing of controlled waste in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm human health and failing to comply with the conditions of an environmental permit. These are both offences under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The defendant was also ordered to pay a £15.00 victim surcharge.

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