A Sheffield-based recycling centre and two of its senior officers have been fined £9,000 and received community orders totalling 240 hours for handling “excessive amounts of waste” at their premises, in breach of their environmental permit.
M White Ltd, of Wood Lane, Stannington, Sheffield, was fined £9,000 earlier this week (Tuesday 13 August) at Sheffield Magistrates Court and ordered to pay costs to the Environment Agency (EA).
The EA brought the case to court after repeated attempts over a period of three years to get the company to comply with its permit.
Edd Betts, Environment Agency – “The Environment Agency is keen to work with companies and give advice as far as possible to allow waste businesses to operate, but in this case we have seen our advice ignored”
The company was repeatedly warned about the limits of its permit, as well as being given advice on how to apply for a permit variation to allow more waste to be stored on site. But no application was made and waste volumes remained excessive.
The firm, however, blamed the problems on equipment failures and staff issues. It also said that it had received a tax demand of £68,000, requiring the firm to continue taking in waste for the income it generated, despite being in breach of the permit.
M White Ltd’s director Mark White aged 62, and his son and site manager James White, aged 37, both of Wood Lane, Stannington, Sheffield, were each given 120 hours of unpaid work.
The defendants were earlier found guilty of the waste crime offences at Sheffield Magistrates Court on 28 June. The company and the defendants were found guilty of three charges each. They all faced two charges for handling volumes of waste in excess of those permitted by their environmental permit, and one charge of failing to comply with an enforcement notice
At the hearing on 28 June this year, Syan Ventom, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, explained to the court how the site’s licence for its site at Worthing Road, Attercliffe, Sheffield, allows a maximum of 200 tonnes of inert waste and 250 tonnes of household, commercial and industrial waste (known as HCI waste). But an audit of the site in April 2008 revealed there to be 1,840 tonnes of inert waste on the site, and 377 tonnes of HCI waste.
Investigating officers visited the site in 2009 and 2010 and found that waste volumes were still too high, and on occasions there appeared to be no proper segregation between the two different types of waste.
Edd Betts, environment officer at the Environment Agency, said: “Waste transfer sites such as this one require an environmental permit which have limitations in place that are essential to protect the environment and prevent any harm to human health.
“The Environment Agency is keen to work with companies and give advice as far as possible to allow waste businesses to operate, but in this case we have seen our advice ignored and an enforcement notice breached caused by non-compliance with the permit. We hope today’s result sends out a clear message that permits must be in place and complied with to protect local communities, and we will act where necessary to ensure this happens.”