In October 2005, Environment Agency officers inspected eleven 40-foot containers at Thamesport in Kent that were being shipped by Community Waste, based in Earls Court.
The containers were labelled as containing waste paper, but Agency officers found unsorted household waste including tins, bottles and nappies. The waste came from Gedling Borough Council and Rushcliffe Borough Council in Nottinghamshire.
Under the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations 1994, ‘green list’ waste - which includes sorted recyclables - can be exported without restrictions. But household waste is ‘amber’-listed and subject to controls.
Appearing at Maidstone crown court on 21 June, Community Waste pleaded guilty to exporting waste contrary to section 12 of the regulations and was fined £30,000 with costs of £13,000.
The Agency said it was "satisfied that the councils believed the waste would be sorted in the UK". But they could probably not have been prosecuted under the regulations which contain no ‘duty of care’ provisions.
The fine was large compared with other recent waste export cases. In May, Remet Company was fined £9,000 for trying to export waste containing CFCs to China, while Grosvenor Waste Management was fined £55,000 for six offences in April (ENDS Reports 388, p 53 and 387, p 58 ). Three firms were prosecuted in February and each fined £3,000-£4,000 (ENDS Report 386, p 64 ).