Four people have been fined following an Environment Agency investigation which found two haulage companies had deposited large amounts of waste soil on a driving range.
According to an announcement from the Agency, two brothers who run a driving range in Ashford, were paid by a number of hauliers to deposit waste soil to create bunds around their facility.
The statement said that John and Grant Kay, who run Great Chart Golf & Leisure in Ashford, used the soil to build a zorbing ramp and raise an area of ground outside the terms of 3 U1 exemptions that had been registered with the Environment Agency.
Only one of these exemptions may be registered on a site in a 3 year period and allows the use of only up to 1,000 tonnes of clean waste soil in a small scale construction scheme, according to the Agency.
To import more than 1,000 tonnes of soil, the EA said that the operators should have obtained an environmental permit. This would require them to put in place stringent measures to ensure the suitability of the waste that is deposited and minimise the impact from the activities on the land and the surrounding land users.
The investigation found that 2,157 lorry loads of waste soil had been deposited on the site between 2012 and 2015, equating to roughly 42,000 tonnes, “significantly” exceeding the 1,000 tonne limit.
John and Grant Kay were fined £2,724 and £4,723 respectively, and each paid a £32 victim surcharge at the hearing at Sevenoaks Magistrates.
There were also fines for the two haulage companies involved, with Mark Luck from Mark Luck Limited being fined £40,000, a further £4,036 in costs and a £170 victim surcharge. Robert Body from Robert Body Haulage Limited was fined £26,000 with £2,952 in costs and a £170 victim surcharge.
The EA noted that Mr Luck had deposited 1,292 loads and Mr Body 715 loads during this timeframe.
Also, the Agency said that all four parties were fully cooperative with the investigation and pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity. The court accepted that the brothers had limited knowledge of the waste industry but the hauliers, both of whom have a long history in the business, should have known better than to deposit large volumes of waste on the site.
Commenting after the prosecution, environment manager Alan Cansdale, said: “The Environment Agency support the use of U1 exemptions for those who wish to use small quantities of clean waste in construction projects. We will not tolerate however the deposit of excessive volumes or inappropriate waste for financial gain under the terms of this authorisation.”
He added: “While we will work closely with businesses to help them comply with such legislation, in cases where individuals consistently operate illegally and in this case outside the terms of an exemption, we have no hesitation in prosecuting them.”