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Bedlington ground works company fined

HFF Ground Works and Drainage Limited and company director Stephen Charlton were fined a total of £8,000 in Bedlington Magistrates Court yesterday (July 7) for offences relating to keeping and treating controlled waste on a site without a Waste Management Licence (WML).

HFF Ltd, based at West Sleekburn in Bedlington, pleaded guilty to four offences of depositing controlled waste; keeping waste; treating waste and treating waste by burning on the site and was fined £1500 for each offence and ordered to costs of £745.74.

Mr Charlton, of Institution Road in Ashington, pleaded guilty with two offences of keeping and treating controlled waste on a site without a WML. He was fined £1000 for each offence and ordered to pay £15 victims surcharge.

Paul Harley prosecuting for the Environment Agency, told the court that HFF Ltd had been visited by Environment Agency officers on two separate occasions prior to the company being served with an enforcement notice on 23 July 2007 – and on each occasion Mr Charlton had been told he needed a WML to carry out the activities at the site.

HFF Ground Works and Drainage Limited was broadly engaged in the business of ground working, and it was the practice to remove waste generated at the work area back to the site for processing. The waste would be sorted and piled, some for re-use and some for sale to third parties. The waste generated consisted mainly of soils, rubble, wood, some tarmac and some green waste.

Mr Harley told the court that the processing of waste requires a WML, in order to allow control of the systems and to prevent pollution incidents.

Environment Agency officers entered the HFF Ltd site on 23 July 2007 and observed a fire containing an old door and some pallets burning in a skip. There were piles of soil, green waste and household waste such as an old toilet, carpet, window frames, a sofa, a wheel barrow, guttering, cardboard, plastics and general builders waste.

A screener, which is used to sieve out wastes was on site as well as a crusher, which is used to reduce rubbles to various sizes. Waste had been sorted into various types and stored in skips.

Mr Charlton was interviewed under caution by Environment Agency officers on 9 September and accepted he was fully aware that activities in regard to the wastes produced through the firm, and treated on the site, required a WML – yet HFF continued to carry on those unlawful activities for commercial gain. Mr Charlton only applied for a WML two days before being interviewed.

In mitigation it was said that HFF and Mr Charlton co-operated fully with the Environment Agency and no measurable environmental impact resulted from the activities.

HFF Ground Works and Drainage Limited Charges:

Between 14th August 2006 and 23rd July 2007, HFF Ground Works and Drainage Limited did deposit controlled waste namely mixed industrial, household and commercial waste on land at Unit 9, West Sleekburn Industrial Estate, Bedlington, Northumberland and such land did not have the benefit of a waste management licence authorising the deposit of controlled waste. Contrary to Section 33(1)(b) and 33(6) of the Environment Protection Act 1990.

On 23rd July 2007, HFF Ground Works and Drainage Limited did keep controlled waste namely mixed industrial, household and commercial waste on land at Unit 9, West Sleekburn Industrial Estate, Bedlington, Northumberland and such land did not have the benefit of a waste management licence authorising the keeping of controlled waste. Contrary to Section 33(1)(b) and 33(6) of the Environment Protection Act 1990.

On 23rd July 2007, HFF Ground Works and Drainage Limited did treat controlled waste by sorting namely mixed industrial, household and commercial waste on land at Unit 9, West Sleekburn Industrial Estate, Bedlington, Northumberland and such land did not have the benefit of a waste management licence authorising the treating of controlled waste. Contrary to Section 33(1)(b) and 33(6) of the Environment Protection Act 1990.

On 23rd July 2007, HFF Ground Works and Drainage Limited did treat controlled waste, namely wood, by burning, on land at Unit 9, West Sleekburn Industrial Estate, Bedlington, Northumberland and such land did not have the benefit of a waste management licence authorising the burning of controlled waste. Contrary to Section 33(1)(b) and 33(6) of the Environment Protection Act 1990.

Mr Stephen Charlton

On the 23rd July 2007 HFF Ground Works and Drainage Limited did keep controlled waste namely mixed industrial, household and commercial waste on land at Unit 9, West Sleekburn Industrial Estate, Bedlington, Northumberland and such land did not have the benefit of a waste management licence authorising the keeping of controlled waste. Contrary to Section 33(1)(b) and 33(6) of the Environment Protection Act 1990.

And you were a Director of the said company and the offence was committed due to your consent, connivance or neglect. Contrary to Section 157(1) of the Environment Protection Act 1990.

On the 23rd July 2007 HFF Ground Works and Drainage Limited did treat controlled waste by sorting, namely mixed industrial, household and commercial waste on land at Unit 9, West Sleekburn Industrial Estate, Bedlington, Northumberland and such land did not have the benefit of a waste management licence authorising the treating of controlled waste. Contrary to Section 33(1)(b) and 33(6) of the Environment Protection Act 1990.

And you were a Director of the said company and the offence was committed due to your consent, connivance or neglect. Contrary to Section 157(1) of the Environment Protection Act 1990.

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