Surrey golf club fined for creating embankment with dumped waste


Surrey golf course

A Surrey golf club has been fined for allowing a haulier firm to dump waste on its course to create an embankment on the driving range.

Rusper Leisure allowed Cook and Son and Bell and Sons Construction to offload waste on the course when none of the companies had approval from the Environment Agency.

District judge Tessa Szagun described the companies’ behaviour as “reckless” and fined Rusper Leisure £2,000 for running a waste operation at the golf club with no environmental permit and imposed costs of £3,000.

For dumping banned waste, Cook and Son was fined £24,000, with costs of £12,500. Bell and Sons Construction was fined £12,000, with costs of £8,000. All three businesses were given victim surcharge fees of £170.

An anonymous tip-off led the Environment Agency to the almost 700 lorry-loads of waste dumped illegally at Rusper Golf Club in Newdigate.

Rusper Leisure had planning permission to raise part of an embankment on the driving range by two metres to catch stray golf balls, however, the agreement with Mole Valley District Council was to only use clean soil.

Companies must ensure the Environment Agency authorises any tipping of waste in advance.

Investigators from the Environment Agency found the surface of the bund contained glass, wood, plastic, tarmac, brick, concrete and other materials. Similar loads were also dropped around the course and nearby.     

Cook and Bell paid Rusper Leisure £100 a load for the tonnes of waste left on and around the greens in the second half of 2018.

The investigation also discovered waste stockpiled close to woods on the edge of the golf course and in the club’s car park.

When interviewed, Rusper Leisure’s company secretary, Sara Blunden, told investigators she didn’t know the work needed a permit from the Environment Agency, claiming she believed planning permission from Mole Valley allowed them to bring waste onto the golf course.

Duncan Bell, a director with Bell and Sons, told the Environment Agency he didn’t check if an environmental permit was needed for the work after being told planning permission was in place for raising the bund.

The Environment Agency said Bell also did not check where his company’s lorries were dumping the waste.

Christopher Cook, of Cook and Son, admitted his drivers left waste on the course and that he’d taken no further steps to find out if the site had a permit from the Environment Agency, beyond asking Bell if the site was legal for that purpose.

Jamie Hamilton, the senior environmental crime officer who led the investigation for the Environment Agency, said: “Companies must ensure the Environment Agency authorises any tipping of waste in advance.

“Cook and Son and Bell and Sons, both established operators, discarded the waste over five months without making any meaningful checks the golf course could accept it.”

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