Suspended sentences for criminals who abandoned waste site not enough, says councilor

A senior councillor has said the suspended prison sentences given to three men who repeatedly broke waste rules and caused a number of fires at two waste sites, leaving the local council with a £3m clean-up bill, does not reflect the impact of their actions.

SC Chadwick and Sons had operated for generations, running two sites in Leigh and Bolton, but it ceased trading in 2016. The Environment Agency (EA) had investigated the Bolton site from June 2014 until the site’s closure. 

In a statement, the EA said the site “was not operated to minimise risk of pollution”.

“The sheer volume of waste on site was preventing it being processed efficiently and preventing vehicles moving around safely,” the EA said.

Eight fires were reported between 2006-2013 and an inspection with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service found that fire risks were not managed in accordance with the company’s fire prevention plans.

There were also a total of 172 odour reports from 2014 to when the site closed. 

The EA said that the men had consistently brought more waste on than was removed, “apparently for financial reasons”.

EA officers made numerous visits to the sites offering advice and guidance but the men abandoned the site, which has now been cleared at an estimated cost of £3m to Bolton Council.

Michael Chadwick and his son Shaun Chadwick were sentenced last week and each given a 10 month sentence suspended for 18 months as well as two 14 week sentences each suspended for 18 months.

Another son, Gary Chadwick, also a director of SC Chadwick, was given two 14 week sentences suspended for 18 months.

But councillor Hillary Fairclough, the deputy leader of Bolton Council, told the Bolton News that the men’s sentences did not match the cost they had inflicted on the local authority.

She said: “This site was left in an utterly unacceptable condition which presented a serious risk to the health and safety of local residents.

“Cleaning up the mess that was left behind also took valuable time and resources away from the frontline services we all rely on.”

She added: “While we are pleased that those responsible have been held to account, we do not feel the sentence fully reflects the burden that was placed on the council and on Bolton residents.”