Environment Agency scraps illegal car breaking site

A man has been sentenced to an 18-month community order and fined £11,200 after pleading guilty to operating an illegal car-breaking operation at two sites in Billingham. The fine includes a victim surcharge of £900 and costs of £1,300

Martin Flatman (39) of Bradley Court, Billingham, was sentenced at Teesside Magistrates Court on Tuesday 7 May following a successful prosecution by the Environment Agency.

Flatman was found to have been running an illegal car-breaking operation without possessing the appropriate environmental permit. The offences were committed at a site known as The Old Coal Yard, at the junction of Haverton Hill Road and Hope Street, Billingham between 14 May and 13 August 2020. In addition, a separate site, opposite The Old Coal Yard was being used by Flatman to store scrap vehicles, presenting a pollution risk to the nearby Teesmouth and Cleveland Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Environment Agency enforcement officers investigated following concerns about pollution made by members of the public to the Environment Agency’s national incident hotline.

Waste operators are required to follow the rules and regulations put in place to protect people and the environment. These rules require accurate documentation of the process they follow when transporting waste materials and ensuring those waste materials are disposed of correctly at a waste facility permitted by the Environment Agency. Failure to dispose of waste correctly is a risk to the environment and public health.

Environment Agency enforcement lead for the north east, John Crowl said,

“This crude operation increased the risk of hazardous wastes leaching into the environment and presented a risk of pollution to groundwater.”

Flatman was instructed by the Environment Agency to stop operating and clear the sites. However, subsequent visits by Environment Agency enforcement officers revealed that illegal waste operations continued to be undertaken in violation of the law.

The Environment Agency’s John Crowl said: “We work hard to prevent and disrupt waste crime and we are delighted that Flatman has admitted wrong-doing in respect of the offences carried out in Billingham. We welcome sentencing by the judge which should act as a deterrent to others considering flouting the law.

“Any person or business who transports, treats, stores or deposits waste without the required environmental permit is breaking the law.

“The conditions of an environmental permit are designed to protect people and the environment. Failure to comply with these legal requirements is a serious offence that can damage the environment, undermine local legitimate environmental permit holders, put jobs at risk and cause misery for local communities.”

Luca Famiglietti

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