Shane Boutwell of Rivendell Vale, South Woodham Ferrers, was sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court on 2 August after pleading guilty earlier this year, the Agency says.
According to the Agency, its officers visited land at Bradwell Wick Leisure Plots, Maldon Road, Bradwell-on-Sea, in June 2020 after firefighters raised concerns following several fires at the site.
The regulator said it found large quantities of waste at the site, including waste electricals, household waste and demolition waste, as well as piles of burned waste.
Officers attended another site owned by Mr Boutwell at Lower Barn Farm, Lower Burnham Road, Latchingdon in September 2020. They reported finding burning waste “with flames up to two metres high”. The Agency added that Essex Fire and Rescue attended and discovered a gas cylinder amongst the embers before immediately calling for fire engines.
Large piles of soils were said to be heavily contaminated with bricks, concrete, paving slabs, and plastics. A firefighter told the Agency officers that the site was a “cause for concern”.
At both sites, Boutwell was given chances to stop depositing, spreading and burning waste. He was advised that all waste on site must be removed by a licensed waste carrier but failed to engage, the Agency says.
Sentencing Boutwell to 14 months’ imprisonment, Judge Loram QC told him that the two sites were “professional operations for your own gain”.
The judge added: “The impact of your behaviour on others was profound. You affected legitimate businesses and encouraged others to sink to the bottom like you.”
Boutwell was also ordered to clean up both sites upon his release from prison. He is to return to court in September 2023 for consideration of claims for prosecution costs and the confiscation of the proceeds of his crimes.
Environment Agency enforcement team leader Lesley Robertson said: “We take illegal waste activity very seriously and will not hesitate to disrupt criminal activity and prosecute those responsible.
“In this case, Boutwell was repeatedly instructed to remove waste from both sites and failed to do so.
“He operated at a commercial advantage, importing and burning waste on a significant scale, undermining legitimate business with little or no regard for the environment or residents.
“His sentence shows just how serious Her Honour Judge Loram QC considered this to be.”
Ms Robertson added that Mr Boutwell also pleaded guilty to disposing of controlled waste “in a manner likely to cause pollution or harm to human health at both sites”, further pleading guilty to failing to remove the waste from Bradwell Wick.