Scottish rendering companies fined

Two rendering firms have been prosecuted for pollution offences in Scotland.

Sacone Environmental Limited, operator of an animal rendering and incineration plant in Brechin, Angus, was fined £4,000 on 23 December at Forfar sheriff court. The firm pleaded not guilty to contravening a condition of its pollution prevention and control permit.

The plant is one of Scotland’s most troubled industrial sites, with a record of poor compliance with environmental law (ENDS Reports 403, p 19  and 388, p 7 ).

Following complaints about odour, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) officers noticed a large plume of black smoke being emitted from the plant’s roof in October 2007. This was contrary to the conditions of its permit.

A SEPA spokeswoman said Sacone has made improvements over the past year and is currently on a voluntary shutdown to make further upgrades. Although the body can withdraw permits, SEPA said "it is reasonable [to allow] the company time to carry out those improvements".

Sacone was fined £10,000 in December 2007 after unrelated odour complaints (ENDS Report 396, p 59 ).

ENDS first reported odour problems at the site in 2001 (ENDS Report 321, p 9 ). Since then it has received a variety of enforcement notices. An escape of hydrogen sulphide also injured four in July 2007 (ENDS Report 391, pp 24-25 ).

Meanwhile, Scotland’s largest renderer William Forrest and Sons (Paisley) was fined on 20 January for two offences for discharging effluent into a mineshaft.

SEPA officers discovered the discharge during a routine inspection in July 2007. The court was told the effluent would have entered groundwater.

The company pleaded guilty at Hamilton sheriff court to a breach of sections 5 and 40(1)a of the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2005, for which it was fined £1,900.

The firm was also fined £4,000 for contravening the Sewerage (Scotland) Act 1968.

Before the case came to court, Forrest had received numerous warnings about the discharge and an enforcement notice.

The same plant was fined in 2006 for an unrelated effluent discharge into a watercourse (ENDS Report 377, p 53 ).

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