15 March 2018 by Joshua Doherty

Suspended sentence for illegal ELV-site operator

The owner of an Exeter scrapyard has been given a suspended prison sentence for operating a vehicle dismantling business, and claiming the end of Life (ELV) vehicles were for resale.

Max Newbery ran the scrapyard, located at Barley Villas Yard, Redhills, Exeter, despite the Environment Agency revoking his permit in March 2014 after he failed to pay the site’s annual permitting fee over a five-year period, the Agency claimed.

Vehicles at the scrapyard at Barley Villas Road, Exeter

Between March 2014 and February 2016, the Agency said a minimum of 51 vehicles were accepted at the scrapyard.

When questioned, Mr  Newbery claimed he had bought the vehicles with the intention of selling them on.

The EA said he “refused to accept” they were waste as defined by the 2008 Waste Framework Directive which states that waste is ‘any substance or object which the owner discards or intends or is required to discard’.

The EA said that two women who took cars to the defendant’s scrapyard both said they were disposing of their vehicles. When questioned about the poor condition of some of the vehicles, Mr Newbery claimed they had been ‘vandalised by children’.

Improvements

In addition to suspending his permit in 2014, the Environment Agency served Newbery with an Enforcement Notice requiring him to carry out improvements to the infrastructure of the scrapyard to minimise the risk of pollution. Newbery said complying with the notice would be ‘expensive’ and it was therefore unreasonable of the Agency to expect him to do so.

Magistrates were told the defendant’s business had an annual turnover of more than £50,000 and that he had recently obtained planning permission for the site. This had increased its value to around £600,000 and had prompted Newbery to try to sell it.

Following a two-day hearing at Exeter Magistrates Court, Mr Newbery received a 24 week suspended sentence, suspended for two years and was ordered to pay £8,470 costs after being found guilty of operating a regulated waste facility without a permit.

Commenting on the offence, Jacob Hess of the Environment Agency said: “Scrapyard operators are required by law to put in place appropriate environmental safeguards to protect human health and the environment. The defendant continued running his scrapyard without making any of the legally required infrastructural improvements.”

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