Cowboy operation costs tyre collector £10,000

Unlicensed storage and shredding of over 40,000 tyres at a Cheshire industrial estate cost a company and its director over £10,000 following a prosecution by the Environment Agency in January. In a similar case, a Cheshire businessman was forced to pay over £5,000 for "duty of care" offences involving tyres.

In March 2001, Agency officers visited an industrial estate in Oakmere, near Northwich, to investigate reports that large numbers of tyres were being stored there. They found some 20,000 tyres at the unlicensed site, stored in factory buildings, next to fire exits and in the yard outside.

The company, A&B Tyres, had been warned that the storage of tyres required a waste management licence. This advice was repeated when an employee told the Agency that the tyres were being shredded - an activity also requiring a licence.

Previous tenants had left about 18,000 tyres on the site. The landlords had agreed to pay A&B £10,000 to remove them and paid the company £4,500 as part payment.

In December 2001, the Agency served a notice on A&B requiring it to remove the tyres. This was ignored, and by the time an Agency officer returned last March the number of tyres stored at the site had doubled to over 40,000. He also discovered that A&B had gone into voluntary liquidation.

Responsibility for removing the tyres was assumed by the landlords at a cost of around £19,000.

Appearing before Northwich magistrates on 15 January, A&B was fined £1,000 for each of three offences under sections 33 and 59(5) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 relating to the unlicensed deposit and treatment of controlled waste and failing to comply with a legal notice. It was also ordered to pay £4,000 compensation to the landlords of the site and £2,000 costs.

The company's director, Alison Jones, also admitted two offences under section 33, and by virtue of section 157(1) of the Act to "consenting or conniving" in the unlicensed deposit and treatment of the tyres by the company.

In the second case, a Cheshire man was fined £3,000 with £2,429 costs by Mold magistrates on 15 January after he allowed more than 20,000 tyres to be taken away by a non-registered carrier without a written description of the waste.

David McIntyre inherited a vehicle dismantlers in Chester where some 30,000 tyres were stored. He sent some for disposal at a licensed landfill, but arranged for a contractor to remove the remaining 20,000 or so for £10,000. The contractor initially told Mr McIntyre that they would be taken to a yard at Birkenhead before being exported.

However, Mr McIntyre failed to provide a waste transfer note for the tyres, describing the type of waste, its origins and destination, which would have allowed the movements of the waste to be tracked. He also failed to check whether the contractor was a registered waste carrier - which he was not.

Instead of being exported, the tyres ended up at an industrial estate on Deeside, where they remain. The contractor is due to appear in court in February to face charges brought by the Agency.

Mr McIntyre was fined £1,500 for failing to take reasonable steps to ensure that the tyres were transferred to an authorised person, and a further £1,500 for failing to ensure that a written description of the waste was transferred. Both offences are in breach of section 34(1)(c) of the 1990 Act.

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