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£50,000 fine for illegal landfill site

The operator of an illegal landfill site at Hogshead Lane, Oakmere, Northwich has been fined £50,000 for allowing thousands of tonnes of controlled waste to be deposited at the site.

ATA (Oakmere) LLP, based at Newby Road Industrial Estate, Stockport, were also ordered to pay costs of £18,372.92, at Chester Magistrates' Court on 27 March 2009. The fine is the maximum penalty they could have received at a Magistrates' court.

The court heard that the operator intended to use five hundred thousand tonnes of waste to infill the site and to raise ground levels, to eventually construct a polo pitch. Despite being aware that a licence was required from the Environment Agency for this activity, the operator proceeded to accept waste at the site and landfill it without any licence in place. The waste included construction, demolition and excavation waste, and ash produced from incinerators.

The Environment Agency regulates the transport, deposit on land, treatment and disposal of controlled waste. Controlled waste includes household, commercial and industrial wastes, all of which have the potential to harm the environment and human health if they are not dealt with in accordance with the legislation.

Lex Massey, Environment Officer said, “The operator disregarded the Environment Agency's advice regarding compliance with the necessary regulations. This was a large scale unlicensed landfill operation. The offence was deliberate and financially motivated, with no regard for the environmental protection legislation. Anybody looking to dispose of waste should ensure that it is only taken to a site which has the appropriate authorisation from the Environment Agency.”

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