Essex company and directors fined £20,000 for illegal waste site

Braintree waste site

An Essex waste company and its directors have been fined more than £20,000 after they stored tonnes of waste illegally at a site in Braintree.

Renew Recycling (London) Limited breached its exemptions by taking large amounts of wood and carpet waste onto a site at Straits Mill on Convent Lane, Braintree.

The offences occurred between December 2017 and March 2019. The Environment Agency (EA) says officers visited the site on “no less than 24 occasions” during this time and found that waste had been stored in breach of exemptions at the site, making the waste a risk to the environment.

The EA says it requested on numerous occasions that the site be cleared of non-compliant waste.

During a visit in February 2018, officers from Essex County Fire and Rescue also attended the location with the EA and raised “serious concerns” about the fire risk posed by the waste which was a particular concern as the site is located close to protected woodland.

The EA says testing showed that wood stored on the site had been reaching internal temperatures of 65 degrees Celsius. Crews were later called to fires at the site on two occasions – once in 2021 and then again in 2022.

As well as not complying with exemptions, investigations found that the company had failed to keep sufficient notes on where its waste was being sent.

Renew Recycling and its directors were given advice on numerous occasions and told to remove the waste from the site but failed to do so.

On one occasion in March 2018 the site was cleared and brought back into compliance, the EA says, however, this lasted just 6 weeks before exemptions were breached again and “significant quantities” of waste remain at the site.

Simon Levy, 47, pleaded guilty to 2 counts and David Johnson, 38, pleaded guilty to 1 count.

The company and its directors altogether pleaded guilty to 8 counts against them centred around failing to comply with exemptions and failing to keep proper documentation on waste leaving the site.

Braintree waste site
Waste on the site near Braintree.

Renew Recycling (London) Limited was fined a total of £10,500 plus a victim surcharge of £170. While Simon Levy was fined £7,150 plus a victim surcharge of £170 and David Johnson was fined £3,900 plus a victim surcharge of £170.

Both directors and the company were also ordered to pay £12,000 each in costs.

Aaron Scott, environment manager at the Environment Agency, commented: “We take illegal waste activity very seriously and will take the necessary action to disrupt criminal activity and prosecute those responsible.

“We support businesses trying to do the right thing, only issuing enforcement notices, and penalising businesses as a last resort.

“Renew Recycling and its directors were given advice on numerous occasions and told to remove the waste from the site but failed to do so.”

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