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Composting firm fined for waste offences

A Bristol company has been ordered to pay £5,960 in fines and costs for storing too much green waste and cardboard at a composting site near Keynsham. The case was brought by the Environment Agency.

Hinton Organics (Wessex) Ltd has an Environmental Permit that allows it to store up to 800 tonnes of composting waste at its premises in Charlton Field Lane. The site is regularly inspected by the Environment Agency to ensure the company complies with the terms of its licence.

On March 4, 2008 two Agency officers visited Hinton Organics and saw a 'significant stockpile' of final compost stored on an area of hard standing. They then walked to another part of the site where shredded green waste was being turned into compost. From the length (44 metres), width (32 m) and height (3.5m) of the pile, they calculated the volume to be 4,928 cubic metres – the equivalent of 985 tonnes.

An additional 268 tonnes of unshreaded waste was found at the back of the site plus 120 tonnes of final compost near the main entrance. These combined amounts meant the total quantity of waste on the site was well in excess of the 800 tonnes maximum permitted.

A court heard Hinton Organics had been warned previously for non-compliance. On March 4, 2008 the site manager was told the company faced enforcement action for this latest breach of its Environmental Permit.

'It is important operators of composting sites control the amount of waste stored and do not exceed the maximum permitted tonnage. Limits are put in place to safeguard the environment and prevent pollution,' said Philip Radford for the Environment Agency.

Hinton Organics (Wessex) Ltd was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £2,960 costs by Bath magistrates after pleading guilty to exceeding the permitted quantity of controlled waste at Charlton Field Lane, Keynsham on three separate occasions contrary to Section 33(6) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

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