Cambridgeshire waste wood firm fined

A waste wood recycling company in Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire, has been fined £26,8000 and ordered to pay costs of £29,110 after being sentenced for breaching its environmental permit.

According to a statement from the Environment Agency, the company was sentenced in its absence at Huntingdon Magistrates’ Court last week (17 June).

The Agency said its officers visited the site ‘on more than 30 occasions’

The Agency added the company had previously pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court, before going into liquidation.

Fire risk

This morning’s statement from the Agency said East Anglian Resources Ltd had a permit to store and treat up to 30,000 tonnes of waste wood for recycling each year.

Agency officers visited the waste wood recycling site on more than 30 occasions after the permit was issued in 2016 to November 2018, the statement said, and found that piles of waste wood were “frequently too large and too close together”.

This posed “a serious risk of fire by spontaneous combustion”.

The statement said the company had a Fire Prevention Plan in place but “persistently failed to comply with it”. The Agency said it suspended the permit three times to force the company to comply, but this had a limited effect.

In addition, Agency officers “noted that dusty material was allowed to accumulate and that the dust was not suppressed. Dust escaped the site on many occasions, affecting people working at neighbouring businesses and visitors to a nearby fishing lake”.

The company was once a member of the Small Business Federation, and the liquidator’s statement of affairs show it had machinery worth more than £250,000 on site from a range of operators.

Below is drone footage from the site in 2016.

Piles

The Agency said that when interviewed James Tribe, the director of the company at the time, explained that the company relied heavily on one customer taking 80% or more of its waste. On occasions when that customer’s site was closed, waste built up on the site in huge piles.

“He accepted that waste piles were massive but said they had never had a fire. He said they had tried to find alternative outlets and had done the best they could,” the statement reads.

‘Nuisance’

Claire Parker, senior environment officer with the Environment Agency, said officers had tried to work with the company but it “continued to cause dust and litter nuisance to their neighbours”.

She said: “Environment Agency officers and I have tried to work with East Anglian Resources Ltd over a number of years, to improve its operations and minimise its impact on neighbouring businesses, residents and the local environment.

“Taking a prosecution is always our last resort, but in this case we felt that a prosecution was in the public interest”

Claire Parker, Environment Agency

“Unfortunately, despite our advice and guidance, warnings and temporary suspension of its permit, the company has continued to cause dust and litter nuisance to their neighbours, and to operate in a manner that presents an unacceptable fire risk.

“Taking a prosecution is always our last resort, but in this case we felt that a prosecution was in the public interest due to the significant, and prolonged, negative impact this company has had on its neighbours and the environment”.

Comments

Leave a Reply

The Blog Box

Other Publications from
The Environment Media Group

Back to top