Clifford Shee pleaded guilty on 30 October at Sunderland Magistrates Court to operating outside the requirements of three exempt waste activities.
These included illegally storing mixed waste onsite containing general waste and food stuffs, storing hazardous waste inappropriately, and failing to keep accurate and correct details of waste transfer documentation between September 2017 and February 2018.
The government is currently reforming the exemption regime because of industry fears that the lack of monitoring and ease of registration makes exemptions a target for criminals.
The court heard that Shee ignored all of the advice and guidance provided to him by the Environment Agency (EA), which brought the prosecution, and deliberately continued to operate his Sunderland waste company, Shee Recycling, in breach of the rules.
Shee was also prosecuted for inappropriately storing 99 45-gallon drums, which contained polluting, hazardous and combustible wastes. Although these drums were initially fly-tipped on his property, Shee failed to take appropriate steps to remove them, according to the EA.
“He stored them for several years outside in the open air without any regard to the risks to the environment and neighbouring premises, through spillage or fire,” said the agency.
When sentencing, the magistrates found Shee’s operation of the facility without a permit as deliberate, telling him “…you knew what you did was wrong and you did it for a long period of time…disregard[ing] advice given”.
In regards to the storage drums, the magistrates described Shee’s behaviour in failing to take any steps to deal with them as “unbelievable”, calling his actions “reckless at the very least”.
The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/1154)
29 Jan 2019
Shee was charged under regulation 38(1)(a) Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016, sections 33(1)(c), 34(5) and 34(6) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
He was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,800.