Waste offences cost composter £5,000

Hinton Organics (Wessex) was fined £4,000 with £1,200 costs by Wansdyke magistrates on 18 January after it admitted seven charges in relation to the operation of its open air composting plant at Hinton Charterhouse, Bath.

A routine inspection by Environment Agency officers in February 2004 revealed that waste was being kept on the ground rather than on a concrete hardstand, and that liquor was leaking from the waste into the earth and water courses.

On 3 March, after little progress had been made, the Agency issued an enforcement notice requiring the waste to be moved to a suitable area of the site within 14 days. When Hinton failed to comply by the deadline the Agency issued a suspension notice preventing it from receiving any further waste until the company complied with its licence. The suspension notice was lifted on 22 March.

However, following local residents' complaints in May about unpleasant odours, the Agency issued another notice requiring the waste to be covered and odours to be prevented.

Hinton was fined £500 on each of two charges relating to events in February - of failing to comply with a condition of its licence, contrary to section 33(6) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. It was fined a further £3,000 in total for four charges relating to breaches of licence conditions in May and one charge of treating or keeping waste in a manner likely to cause harm to human health or the environment, contrary to sections 33(1)(c) and 33(6) of the 1990 Act.

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