Community service and hefty fine for waste crime

Two waste operators have been given a community service order and a penalty of £24,000 respectively after misusing an agreement to clean-up land and dumping more waste.

The Environment Agency has prosecuted two men in connection with illegal waste activities in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, in 2005 and 2006.

Land near the Pyebush roundabout had been plagued for many years with illegally deposited waste, Aylesbury Crown Court heard on 10 October. In 2005 the landowners had agreed to remediate the site and to comply with the relevant waste legislation following pressure from the Agency and local authority. The clean-up was also needed to allow a barrier to be built to prevent further dumping.

The landowners appointed David Smith of Christchurch Road, Ringwood, Hampshire, to act for them. Smith then appointed Andrew Lonsdale and his two companies, Seagrave Ltd and Environmental Consulting and Marketing Ltd, to remediate the site. Mr Lonsdale acted principally as sales manager for the companies and as a waste broker.

In May 2005, council and Agency officers visited the site after receiving reports of lorries depositing waste there. They advised Smith and Lonsdale that they could treat the existing waste on-site provided no more was brought in.

Subsequent investigations found a large amount of construction and demolition waste on the site, including soil, concrete and plastics. By 10 October 2005, parts of the land had been raised by half a metre and a bund intended only to block the entrance extended around the site. In August 2006, Lonsdale was again seen treating the waste in the bunds.

Smith pleaded guilty to allowing the illegal deposit of waste over four months in 2005, contrary to section 33(1)(a) of the Environment Protection Act 1990 and was fined £15,000. He was also ordered to pay £4,011 towards the Agency’s costs and £4,871 compensation for the avoidance of licence fees.

Lonsdale, who had previous waste convictions, was sentenced to 260 hours of community service, after pleading guilty to allowing the deposit and treatment of waste and depositing waste to build an excessive bund between 6 June and 10 October, contrary to section 33(1)(a) of the 1990 Act. He also pleaded guilty to treating waste again between 23 August and 1 September.

In March 2002 Lonsdale, his companies and his former waste broking company Associated Tippers were ordered to pay £19,000 in fines and costs for similar offences (ENDS Report 326, p 59 ).

In 2007, Lonsdale and his company ALL Transport Services were also ordered to pay over £5,000 in total for failure of duty of care under section 34 of the 1990 Act.

The Agency has powers under the Control of Pollution (Amendment) Act 1989 to revoke waste carriers’ licences if the registrant has been convicted of a prescribed offence or if it believes it is "undesirable" for registration to continue. Yet the Agency has had difficulty in making use of these powers (ENDS Report 335, p 19 ).

An Agency spokesman told ENDS that if a waste carriers’ licence is registered to a company, it does not consider the offences of individuals working for it. Individuals seeking licences must disclose relevant convictions, including those attributable to them as a company officer.

Proposals in an Environment Department (DEFRA) consultation which ended in September would make it easier for waste carriers’ and brokers’ licences to be revoked or refused (ENDS Report 401, pp 50-51 ).

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