Case law: Skip company fined £22,000 for illegal activity
The director of a Norfolk skip company has been ordered to pay £22,000 for operating an illegal waste site for more than a year.
Skippy Industries Ltd, based at Riverside Farm, Setchey, near King’s Lynn, was only permitted to store and treat waste indoors, within a certain area. However, the Environment Agency found stockpiles of used refrigerators, soiled mattresses, rubble and other mixed waste outside in the open, where it risked contaminating the nearby River Nar Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Some specific low-risk activities were allowed outside, but Agency officers visited the site nine times between May 2018 and April 2019 and found waste piled up on land used by the company. Officers repeatedly offered advice and support, but the company failed to adhere to multiple deadlines and clear the waste.
Mr Lemmon admitted in an interview that he knew he needed an environmental permit to lawfully extend the site, but claimed his company had outgrown its building and had become a “victim of its own success”. He said that, as a result, he couldn’t afford the permit.
Speaking after the hearing, Agency senior environment officer Scott Cunnington said: “It is our job to regulate waste activity to make sure it doesn’t put people or the environment at risk. We always aim to work with and support business growth as long as it’s compliant with the rules.
“We hope securing this criminal conviction of a waste operator serves as a wake-up call to other businesses and a reminder that they must stay within the conditions and boundaries outlined by their permits.”
Mr Lemmon was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay £8,170 in costs and surcharges after pleading guilty to the charge in Norwich Magistrates’ Court on 29 September 2020.