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Recycling firm fined over £190,000 for causing years of nuisance

A recycling company whose activities have blighted a South London neighbourhood for years has been fined £191,262 by a Crown Court Judge.

Metal & Waste Recycling Limited was fined £75,000 for each offence, ordered to pay £41,247 in legal costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Woolwich Crown Court heard from Sailesh Mehta, barrister for the Environment Agency, that the problems at Oxestalls Road in Deptford dated back to 2005 when residents began complaining to Lewisham Council about noise coming from the site.

The Environment Agency advised residents to call its incident hotline to log problems. Residents filed many complaints about the company, one logging 70 incidents including vehicles and cranes with girders scraping and pushing metal into piles.

Acting on these complaints , the Environment Agency commissioned specialist noise assessments that all concluded noise from the scrap metal activities were reaching levels which were likely to cause nuisance.

Further visits by Environment Agency staff between March 2010 and July 2010 revealed that the company’s noisy activities were continuing. These included cranes dragging scrap along the ground and metal being dropped at great height on to larger piles of metal.

Environment officer Michael Real said: "I am very pleased that the court has recognised the problems this site caused for nearby residents over a long period. We always seek to work with companies to help them operate within the law but this company left us with no choice but to take the matter to the courts. We will not allow unscrupulous companies to operate."

The mix of intelligence and tactics being used to crack down on waste criminals in the South East of England is also attracting attention further afield. The EU-funded European Pathway to Zero Waste (EPOW) project will showcase Environment Agency South East’s approach to fighting waste crime across Europe throughout 2012.

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