17 June 2019 by Will Date

Biffa MRF export court case continues

A legal case involving Biffa Waste Services and the Environment Agency over the shipment of waste to China in 2015 is continuing at Wood Green Crown Court.

Jurors have heard representations from the waste management company and the environmental regulator during proceedings at the north London court which began on 4 June and are expected to conclude this month.

Wood Green

The case is taking place at Wood Green Crown Court

The Environment Agency’s prosecution centres on several containers of material marked as ‘mixed paper’ which were being exported to two paper mills in China. The Agency alleges that the material within the containers had levels of contamination which brought them into contravention of the 2007 Transfrontier Shipment Regulations. Biffa has pleaded not guilty.

Biffa’s recycling commodities trading manager, Trevor Williams, was in the witness stand on Friday (14 June), and answered questions from the Environment Agency’s QC, Sailesh Mehta.


Questioning centred on operations at the company’s Edmonton MRF where the material in question was sorted, and the volumes of material exported by Biffa.

Mr Mehta told the Court, during his examination of Mr Williams, that the contaminants found in the 16 containers destined for export as mixed paper for recycling included around 50 nappies or sanitary products.

Also taking the stand on Friday was Phil White, a technical director at the consultancy firm Ricardo, who was called as an expert witness by the defence team.

Mr White was questioned by barristers on the operations at the Edmonton MRF, about which he provided a detailed assessment, and told the court that the facility was “as good as any in the market,” based on his judgment.

Defence barristers also asked Mr White to provide a view on whether it was possible for a MRF to end products containing 0% contamination – which he said was ‘theoretically’ possible, but said it would “not be practical in any sense,” due to the cost and time involved.

The trial continues.


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