Director prosecuted for ‘lamentable’ waste management

A director of a firm dealing in electrical waste contaminated with dangerous chemicals has been sentenced to 240 hours of unpaid work after a judge said his "absolutely lamentable" management put public health and the environment at risk.

Christopher White, a director of Newark-based Eurotech Waste Management, was sentenced on 8 January at Nottingham crown court. He pleaded guilty to breaches of the firm’s waste management licence and duty of care, under section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

White was disqualified from company directorship or management for two years. No fine or costs were imposed due to his limited means.

The waste Eurotech treated and transferred contained toxic and persistent polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). For two years from August 2003, the company failed to properly log waste transfers, provide adequate documentation or ensure its recipients were authorised to accept the material. Waste containers were not properly cleaned and contaminated oil was poorly stored and treated outside the licensed site.

The Environment Agency had warned the director about his company’s activities. It regularly had to explain procedures to ensure compliance with waste laws.

Eurotech has since ceased trading and the site is no longer operating. The Agency said removing the remaining waste will cost £70,000.

White’s defence counsel admitted his defendant had been out of his depth and should never have been in charge of such a facility.

In sentencing, the judge noted that White was of previous good character and had caused no provable harm to human health. The offences had arisen through the defendant’s incompetence, rather than greed, he concluded.

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