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Heavy fines for metal company over illegal operations in Leyton

A scrap metal company has been ordered to pay more than £28,000 after admitting keeping and treating waste without the correct licence unlicensed site in Leyton.

Baseforce Metals & Demo Ltd operates a scrap metal site at Unit 3 Wellington Work, Staffa Road Leyton. On Thursday 8 May, Waltham's Forest Magistrate's Court ordered the company to pay £21,000 in fines and £3,198 in prosecution costs after it pleaded guilty to keeping and treating waste without the necessary Waste Management Licence. The company also pleaded guilty to treating waste in a manner likely to pollute the environment or cause harm to human health. It was also ordered to pay the Environment Agency compensation of £4,202.

Environment Agency investigators visited the site on three occasions in 2006. They saw a large amount of scrap metal being treated and stored on the site, with end-of-life vehicles being crushed and stored without proper measures in place to decontaminate the vehicles. Tyres, drums batteries, engines and other car components were also being stored on the site. Pools of contaminated surface-water and oil were also seen. On their last visit, officers further noted that oil was running off-site and polluting the adjacent land.

Changes to the End of Life Vehicle Regulations in 2003 now require sites that keep depolluted waste vehicles to apply for a waste management licence. This is to ensure that premises had the necessary infrastructure to carry out the work safely, such as impermeable surfaces and sealed drainage systems to prevent fluids escaping into the environment.

Senior environment officer Andrew Strevens said: “Not ensuring that waste is disposed of properly is highly irresponsible, and shows a blatant disregard for the environment. This company's activities have resulted in significant, albeit localised, contamination of the land.

“We are pleased that the court has recognised the gravity of this incident and hope that these fines will act as an incentive to other operators to take better care of their local environment and community.”

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