The Environment Agency today (Wednesday) warned waste cheats to clean up their act or risk ending up in jail. The warning comes as the Environment Agency continues its crackdown on illegal waste dumpers. This follows a series of successful prosecutions over the past two weeks resulting in a total of three years imprisonment, 100 hours community service and over £92,000 in fines.
“Let us be clear – if waste cheats think they can get away with illegally dumping waste, damaging our environment, they can think again,” says Liz Parkes, Head of Waste at the Environment Agency.
“The recent prosecutions and punishments given by the courts send out a clear, sharp message that waste cheats can and do get sent to prison. The Environment Agency also has the power to ask the courts to revoke driving licences, seize vehicles used in committing offences and to impose Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) on offenders.”
A persistent fly-tipper from Plymouth was sent to prison for 16 months last week – the longest sentence for an Environment Agency case for this type of offence in nearly four years.
After getting customers to pay up to £200 by saying he was a legitimate waste operator, John Tapscott of Honicknowle, Plymouth illegally dumped truckloads of rubbish at beauty spots throughout Devon. This case was the result of work by the Environment Agency and Plymouth City Council who, since 2005, had been investigating reports of fly-tipping in lanes on the outskirts of Plymouth.
Liz Parkes continues: “We are committed to chasing down these rogue operators who blight our communities and put our environment and wildlife in danger. This case shows we are working with local authorities, the police and other enforcement bodies to share intelligence to catch those involved. Our policy is to prosecute all those involved in these anti-social activities.”
After being caught dumping hazardous asbestos waste, two Bradford men were sentenced to a total of 20 months in prison. William John Peter Reidy, 59 of Cheltenham Road, Bradford, was sentenced to a total of 16 months in prison after illegal dumping waste including asbestos.
His partner in crime, Leonard Archibald Imeson, 61, of Cutler Heights Lane, Bradford, was sentenced to four months in prison. Their accomplice, Neil Peter Medley, 45, from Illkley, was given 100 hours community service after he pleaded guilty to two offences of falsifying documents.
The court heard how they were paid to take building waste away from companies across Yorkshire but boosted their profits by deliberately disregarding environmental regulations by dumping the waste illegally. Around 200 lorry loads of demolition waste had been dumped illegally, and Environment Agency officers traced vehicles seen dumping the waste back to their company, Space Making Development (SMD).
A Thatcham waste management company and its managing director were ordered to pay more than £62,000 after pleading guilty to keeping and transferring potentially harmful skip waste without a licence.
The company, despite several warnings from the Environment Agency, was operating without a waste management licence for the site. Their activities increased the risk of pollution to the Kennet and Avon Canals, the Nightingale Stream – a high quality SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) protected chalkstream.
The company was transferring waste from small skips into larger skips, which potentially puts the environment at risk. On one occasion, Environment Agency officers found hazardous wastes in a household skip, which had a large hole in the bottom and stood on ground that was not sealed. It contained items such as gas bottles and cans, paint tins, an engine oil container, tins of wood preservative and sealer.
A £30,000 fine was handed down to Russell Surfacing Limited for illegally keeping, treating and disposing of controlled waste at Detling Aerodrome Industrial Estate near Maidstone. The case came to court after the company ignored several Environment Agency warnings to stop storing and burning construction waste at that site as it did not have the necessary licences in place.
“Waste crimes are irresponsible, anti-social, and unnecessary given the amount of help and guidance available to those that produce, carry and manage waste. We will take the strongest possible action against offenders,” adds Liz Parkes.
To check whether the person collecting your waste is registered with the Environment Agency, visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk or by call 08708 506 506. To report environmental incidents like fly-tipping and illegal waste cheats call free on 0800 80 70 60.