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Environment laws ‘blatantly ignored’

Illegal site fined £25,000

Waste operator A Riddel and Sons has been fined a total of £25,000 and ordered to pay full Environment Agency costs of £3,560 for running an illegal waste site on land at a disused railway line at Firsby near Spilsby, Lincolnshire.

Andrew Riddel, director of the company, bought the land in February 2007 and by April, activities there had come to the attention of the Environment Agency which today (Wed) brought the prosecution at Skegness Magistrates' Court.

The court was told that Riddel has operated in the waste industry for many years and knows it is an offence to run a waste site without a licence and also that it is illegal to import waste and dispose of waste by burning it, which is what was happening at the Firsby site. He is the holder of two licences for other sites.

Illegal operations at the site carried on between April and October last year despite several visits by Environment Agency officers. On one occasion they watched what was happening from a distance and witnessed a skip lorry making two trips early in the morning, tipping its contents onto the ground each time.

Among waste found at the site during the investigation was a large container filled with waste metals , including a caravan chassis, old kitchen worktops, old furniture, books, domestic rubbish pieces of metal.

Kieran Martyn prosecuting said the officers saw evidence of waste having been burned and the ash spread with hardcore to make a hard standing area. No planning permission had been given or surveys carried out to assess the environmental impact of this work.

The site was also used for processing waste telegraph poles which were cut into sections to be sold. The off-cuts had been burnt with any metal components separated from the ash for scrap.

'Without proper planning controls Riddel had hedges and trees ripped out and smothered the surface of the land with hardcore. No consideration was given to the impact this caused to the fauna or flora on the site,' said Mr Martyn.

He explained that wood based waste, including timber treated with preservative chemicals and processed wood products such as chipboard containing resins, glues and other chemicals had been burnt at the site potentially releasing toxic fumes and particles into the air.

Mr Martyn told the court that the activities carried out at the site were not licensed and would not have qualified for an exemption either. He said the use of the Firsby site had been motivated by the prospect of saving money as the company was not having to pay to transport the waste to a proper site where they would have to pay for its disposal.

After the hearing Environment Agency officer Christian Martin said: 'The Environment Agency regards the illegal disposal of waste as a serious issue which will not be tolerated. Lawful waste management is essential to minimise its effect on the environment. This case is a clear example of environmental laws being blatantly ignored.'

Riddel and sons pleaded guilty to:

1. On 20 April 2007 on land known as the old railway line, North of Firsby, Lincs you did keep a quantity of controlled waste namely cardboard, furniture, metal, glass windows and domestic waste when there was not in force a Waste Management Licence granted by the enforcing authority pursuant to sections 35 and 36 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 authorising the said keeping. Contrary to s33(1) (b) and s33(6) Environmental Protection Act 1990. Fined £5,000

2. Between 20 April and 27th April 2007 on land known as the old railway line, North of Firsby, you did dispose of a quantity of controlled waste by burning when there was not in force a Waste Management Licence granted by the enforcing authority pursuant to sections 35 and 36 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 authorising the said burning. Contrary to s33(1) (b) and s33(6) Environmental Protection Act 1990. Fined £5,000

4. Between 9 August 2007 and 24 August 2007 on land known as the old railway line, North of Firsby, you did keep and treat a quantity of controlled waste which included wood, plywood, cardboard, plastic, fabrics, kitchen worktops and telegraph poles when there was not in force a Waste Management Licence granted by the enforcing authority pursuant to sections 35 and 36 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 authorising the said keeping and treating. Contrary to s33(1) (b) and s33(6) Environmental Protection Act 1990. Fined £5,000

5. On 24 August 2007 on land known as the old railway line, North of Firsby, you did deposit a quantity of controlled waste namely paper, books, tree cuttings, treated and untreated timber, chipboard, MDF and plywood when there was not in force a Waste Management Licence granted by the enforcing authority pursuant to sections 35 and 36 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 authorising the said deposit. Contrary to s33(1) (a) and s33(6) Environmental Protection Act 1990. Fined £5,000

6. Between 24 August 2007 and 22 October 2007 on land known as the old railway line, North of Firsby, you did keep and treat a quantity of controlled waste which included wood, plywood, cardboard, plastic, fabrics, garden waste, metal and telegraph poles when there was not in force a Waste Management Licence granted by the enforcing authority pursuant to sections 35 and 36 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 authorising the said keeping and treating. Contrary to s33(1) (b) and s33(6) Environmental Protection Act 1990. Fined £5,000

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