A skip hire firm and its director have been fined after it was found to have been storing waste on its site without a permit.
M J Curle, based in Shifnal, Shropshire, was fined £6,600 at Telford Magistrates’ Court on 26 January after around 1,700 tonnes of waste were found on land that was not covered by an environmental permit.
The company’s director, Stuart Curle, pleaded guilty to operating a regulated facility that was not authorised by a permit, both on behalf of the company and in his capacity as a director. He was fined £1,200 with in excess of £25,000 in compensation costs to the Environment Agency, plus a £120 victim surcharge.
Environment Agency officers found a large number of skips containing a variety of waste, including cardboard and green waste, during a site inspection in January 2015. Other parts of the site were used for storing and sorting waste, and there was evidence of waste being burned.
The agency claimed that M J Curle had escaped around £130,000 in costs by not disposing of the waste legally.
It emerged that the company had never applied for an environmental permit, despite being warned that it had needed one in 2008, and had avoided fees of more than £14,000 by doing so.
Under caution, Curle said waste was being brought to the site as a result of a relationship with a local business, and admitted to accepting skips full of waste and sorting it once they had been moved to its site.
The court found the previous warnings the company had been given in 2008 were an aggravating feature of the case, but Curle’s serious ill health, financial difficulties, his cooperation with the Environment Agency and admissions in interview were taken into consideration.
The firm, which has an O-licence authorising up to seven vehicles and six trailers, was also given until 25 July to remove the waste that remained on site.
The Environment Agency officer in charge of the investigation, who has not been named, said after the hearing: “When we entered the site in 2015, there was clear evidence of a deliberate and unlawful waste processing and storage operation.
“Stuart Curle was previously spoken to by Environment Agency officers about the need to obtain an environmental permit to undertake this activity. Unfortunately he failed to heed that guidance.
“We are pleased with the outcome of this case and we will actively bring prosecutions where deliberate unlawful processing and storage is identified.”