WH Smith fined for 'non-waste' offence

High street newsagent WH Smith has failed to persuade magistrates that old newspapers which blew out of one of its depots were not waste and did not belong to the company but were being returned to publishers for recycling.

The plea related to an incident last February when Environment Agency officers visited the firm's depot in Bodwin, Cornwall, after receiving a complaint that newspapers and other litter were blowing out of the site and onto a main road.

The site was in an untidy state, with skips of waste left uncovered and rubble and packaging scattered across the yard. In April, waste was again seen blowing into the road. The court heard that the problems developed after the contractor who collected the rubbish failed to turn up for three weeks.

WH Smith was charged with a breach of section 34(1)(b) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, which requires waste holders to take reasonable steps to prevent waste escaping from their control. It was fined £1,000 with £600 costs by East Cornwall magistrates on 22 October.

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