Transfrontier waste regime tackles scrap cable shipment

An unregistered waste broker who tried to ship contaminated cables to Germany without the proper documentation has become the second company to be prosecuted under the transfrontier shipment regime.

Last year, the Rotherham-based waste broker Dowgate Trading (UK) was hired by Global Marine Systems to arrange for the shipment and recovery of 24 tonnes of waste marine cable that GMS had removed from the seabed of the North Sea.

The cables, comprised of bitumen, jute and synthetic material as well as metals, were shipped from Portland, Dorset.

The waste was seized by Dutch customs officials on 6 March 2003 when they noticed that the required notification documents were missing and the cargo failed to comply with the EU waste shipment Regulation.

When questioned by the Environment Agency, Dowgate's director Brian Markell admitted that neither he, nor his company, was a registered waste broker at the time the waste was shipped.

Appearing before Weymouth magistrates on 27 January, Mr Markell admitted arranging the recovery of controlled waste on behalf of another person without being a registered broker, contrary to sections 20(1) and (5) of the waste management licensing regulations 1994.

He also pleaded guilty to "consenting or conniving" as a director of Dowgate so that he "caused waste to be shipped in circumstances which are deemed to be illegal traffic", contrary to sections 12(1), 13(1) and 15(1) of the transfrontier shipment of waste regulations.

Dowgate was fined £500 for each offence plus £3,400 costs. Mr Markell was given a 12-month conditional discharge.

The only other case brought by the Agency under the transfrontier shipment of waste regulations was in 2000 when the construction firm Stirling Lloyd Contracts was fined £1,500 with £4,595 costs for importing drums of waste solvent into the UK from Sweden without notifying the authorities (ENDS Report 310, pp 50-51 ).

The Agency's other enforcement activity in this area consists of four cautions - one to Dowgate's customer GMS. The others were issued to Minchem Chemicals, R Hayman & Son and, in August 2003, to the life sciences multinational Syngenta.

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