Hinton Organics (Wessex) fined over storage

6 March 2009

Keynsham-based composting firm Hinton Organics (Wessex) has been fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £2,960 in costs for storing too much green waste and cardboard at its composting site outside Bristol.

In a case brought by the Environment Agency, the company pleaded guilty at Bath Magistrates Court yesterday (March 5) to exceeding the permitted quantity of controlled waste at Charlton Field Lane, Keynsham, on three separate occasions, contrary to Section 33(6) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Hinton Organics (Wessex) pleaded guilty to exceeding the permitted quantity of controlled waste at its Keynsham site on three separate occasionsA statement from the Environment Agency explained that Hinton Organics (Wessex) Ltd has an Environmental Permit allowing it to store up to 800 tonnes of composting waste at its premises in Charlton Field Lane.

The statement continued: "On March 4, 2008 two Agency officers visited Hinton Organics and saw a ‘significant stockpile' of final compost stored on an area of hard standing. They then walked to another part of the site where shredded green waste was being turned into compost. From the length (44m), width (32m) and height (3.5m) of the pile, they calculated the volume to be 4,928 cu m - the equivalent of 985 tonnes.

"An additional 268 tonnes of unshreaded waste was found at the back of the site plus 120 tonnes of final compost near the main entrance. These combined amounts meant the total quantity of waste on the site was well in excess of the 800 tonnes maximum permitted," it added.

The magistrates heard that Hinton Organics had been warned previously for non-compliance and on March 4, 2008 the site manager was told the company faced enforcement action for this latest breach of its Environmental Permit.

‘It is important operators of composting sites control the amount of waste stored and do not exceed the maximum permitted tonnage. Limits are put in place to safeguard the environment and prevent pollution,' said Philip Radford for the Environment Agency.

Angus Cunningham, managing director of Hinton Organics (Wessex) said: "We are disappointed that this case was taken to court, especially as much of the material involved was produced to PAS1000 standard. We have been asking for an increase in our permitted capacity since 2005. We have a spent a large sum of money on consultants and producing reports and we have had to keep carrying out more studies for the Agency."

Mr Cunningham added that this week that an extension to the site had been approved by the Agency and that the company was now looking beyond the court case to its future growth and development.