4 June 2019 by Joshua Doherty

Agency opens Biffa MRF export court case

Wood Green Crown Court today (4 June) heard opening arguments from the Environment Agency in its case against Biffa Waste Services over the shipment of waste to China in 2015.

The case, which is expected to last around three weeks, began this morning with the prosecution counsel explaining that the case centred on containers which were being shipped to two paper mills in China.

Wood Green

The case will take place over the next three weeks at Wood Green Crown Court

The Agency alleges that the material within the containers contained levels of contamination which brought them into contravention of the 2007 Transfrontier Shipment Regulations.

Lawyers acting on behalf of the Agency told the court that the some of the containers, which were inspected at Felixstowe port in 2015, contained contaminants such as soiled nappies and old clothing.


They added that in order for the waste to be classified as paper waste, rather than ‘household’ waste, it would have to be sufficiently sorted at a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF). Regulations ban the export of household waste overseas.

Proceedings are being overseen by his Honour Justice Auerbach, who explained to the jury at the beginning of today’s hearing that they are to decide if the bales inspected are to be considered household waste or paper waste.

Justice Auerbach specified that there is no exact science or calculation for this, and the decision must be based on the evidence the jury will hear throughout the trial.

Biffa is charged with two counts of breaching Article 23 of the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations 2007. The company will put forward its defence at a later stage in the proceedings


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