Man charged more than £12,000 over illegal waste operation

A Sunderland man has been ordered to pay more than £12,000 after a hearing at Sunderland Magistrates Court.

He was prosecuted by the Environment Agency for operating outside the requirements of three exempt waste activities, including illegally storing mixed waste onsite, storing hazardous waste inappropriately and failing to keep accurate and correct details of waste transfer documentation.

The man was also prosecuted for failing to safely store a number of 45-gallon drums that contained polluting, hazardous and combustible wastes. These were located near to a local burn, and a short distance from a major railway line. 

The drums were initially fly-tipped onto his property, but he failed to take appropriate steps to remove the items and stored the drums outside for several years without any regard for the risks to the environment and neighbouring premises. He also ignored advice and guidance given by the Environment Agency and continued to operate his waste company in breach of the rules. 

The defence told the court the man had gaps in his knowledge and was keen to undertake training. He also intended to remove some of the offending waste from the site but had been prevented from doing so by a faulty clutch on his vehicle. They also told the court he did not know what to do with the drums of fly-tipped waste. 

The court found the man’s operation of the facility without a permit was deliberate and described his behaviour in failing to take the steps as “reckless at the very least”. He was fined £1,999, and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £120 and costs of £10,800.

Jamie Fletcher, area environment manager for the Environment Agency, said: “The successful prosecution and level of fine shows how the Agency is always looking to clamp down on unlawful activities and businesses who aim to bend the rules.”

Image credit | iStock
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