The director of a waste firm which went into liquidation in 2013 has been ordered to pay £33,000 in fines and costs after having pleaded guilty to breaching an environmental permit for the operation of a site in Bedfordshire.
Simon Lupson, director of Wood Recycling Services, was sentenced at Luton Crown Court on Friday (22 January) in a case brought by the Environment Agency over the site at Station Road, Ampthill.
- Environment Agency images of the Wood Recycling Services site
The permit for the site allowed the company to recycle and store degradable household, commercial and industrial wastes. However, according to the Agency a number of conditions were breached covering odour, dust, and site drainage on several occasions between 2011 and 2013.
During the hearing Mr Sailesh Mehta, prosecuting counsel, said there had been a continuous impact on local residents, businesses, and the amenity of the area.
He said Lupson was involved in WRS since it began, as company secretary and then as director. “He knew exactly what the problems were but carried on,” Mr Mehta claimed.
WRS failed to properly manage the risks and failed to follow its own internal procedures the Agency alleged, adding that although there were some site working plans and dust and odour management plans they were either not followed or were inadequate.
The company continued to take waste when there was too much already on site resulting in waste biodegrading causing more leachate, mud, dust, smell and litter, it was claimed.
Judge Philip Bartle said the company was ‘hopelessly underfunded’ but Lupson was more concerned with financial profit.
He said: “I’m sure Lupson continued this company without regard to the conditions of this permit. He did assist from time to time……. but things got completely out of hand and he lost control.”
The judge gave credit for Mr Lupson’s guilty plea and took into account that he had no previous convictions. Mr Lupson was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay a contribution to prosecution costs of £30,000 after he pleaded guilty to the offences on the second day of a trial listed for three weeks.
Since the offences, the site has been cleared and the company has gone into voluntary liquidation.
After the hearing Environment Agency officer Jeremy Hay said: “Everyone who deals with waste has a duty of care to ensure their waste is handled correctly. We provided plenty of advice and guidance but unfortunately this was ignored. As a consequence local businesses and residents were badly affected by dust and odours. Waste continued to be brought onto the site despite not having the capacity to deal with it effectively.
“Wood Recycling took so much waste on to the site that it overflowed onto nearby land illegally. The company failed to follow its own procedures having a massive impact on local residents and businesses and the amenity of the area.”
letsrecycle.com could not reach Mr Lupson for comment.