A Hertfordshire-based waste haulage business has been fined £510,000 for “illegally storing thousands of tonnes” of baled RDF at a site on the Hertfordshire-Cambridgeshire border.
Winters Haulage Limited – which is now in liquidation – was issued the penalty at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court yesterday (29 January), after pleading guilty to offences relating to the baled waste deposited at a site next to Royston Sewage Treatment Works in 2014 and 2015.
Company director Liam Patrick Winters was also ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work and fined £8,850.
According to the Agency, of the £510,000 fine for the company, £450,000 was equivalent to money saved or avoided by committing the offences. The company was also ordered to pay costs of £30,000.
Outlining its case against the company, the Agency claimed that it had a permitted site in Hitchin, but claimed that it had been transporting waste to the site in Royston, without the required permit.
It added that the company had been told to clear waste from the Royston site in 2014, noting that some was taken to a Biffa landfill site, and some to the company’s Hitchin site, one of two waste transfer stations operated by Winters at the time.
However, the Agency said “the necessary accompanying waste transfer notes were either absent or incorrect”.
It was later alleged that some of the baled RDF had been buried at the Royston site, posing a “significant fire risk”.
Mitigating for Liam Winters, solicitor Mike Magee told the court that in early 2014 Seneca Environmental Solutions Ltd had indicated that it could offer Winters Haulage a service to deal with its baled waste for transfer to Europe.
However, the defence said that the company had been “unable to take round bales as were produced by Winters at their Hitchin site”. He added that Winters had used the Royston site to store the waste as a temporary measure until the RDF could be removed. Mr Magee said that the company had not intended to undermine the statutory regime.
After the hearing, Environment Agency team leader Phil Henderson, said: “Illegally stockpiling thousands of tonnes of waste in this manner has potentially devastating impacts on the environment, communities and transport infrastructure.
“This case highlights the growing problems being faced with waste across the country and the result in court today should reassure the public that the Environment Agency is committed to bringing waste criminals to justice.”
The court also heard that the site had not yet been remediated and it was estimated to cost the landowner, Anglian Water Group, £1.9 million to clean the site up to its previous condition.