A Cambridgeshire operator has been sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for two years, after mixed commercial and construction waste was illegally stored at a site.
Cambridge Magistrates’ Court heard that stop notices were twice placed on Cambridge Skip Hire, based in Long Drove, Waterbeach, but director Daniel Lee Crockwell continued to operate. The facility had begun as a skip hire site but soon became an unpermitted waste transfer station.
Environment Agency investigating officers first visited the site at Half Acre in August 2016. No one was there so a letter was left asking the business to make contact, but it failed to do so and a stop letter was placed on the business.
In November 2016, officers tracked down Crockwell, who reluctantly agreed to meet them at the site. Crockwell told officers that he needed a few weeks to clear the site and would meet them again.
He agreed to clear the site by 16 February 2017 but failed to do so and eventually the landowners took control of the site and cleared it themselves. He eventually stopped taking in extra waste in November 2017 and closed down the firm’s website and disconnected the phones at the same time.
Gurjit Bdesha, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, said that before a waste transfer station could be operated at the site, improvements to the infrastructure to protect the environment would have to be made. Planning and health and safety requirements were also needed.
Crockwell had taken a risk in running the business illegally and had only ever held a waste carriers’ licence during the year of operating at Long Drove. Bdesha told the court that Crockwell had ignored advice and guidance given to him on numerous visits by officers from the organisation, had no previous waste experience but tried to compete with established businesses in the area.
Crockwell pleaded guilty to operating a waste operation for the deposit, storage and treatment of waste, between 31 December 2015 and 31 December 2016, without being authorised by an environmental permit granted under Regulation 13 of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 and contrary to Regulation 12 and 38(1) (a) Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010.
As well as the suspended prison sentence, Crockwell was ordered to pay £5,592 costs. After the hearing, Environment Agency enforcement team leader Phil Henderson said: “While the Environment Agency seeks to work with operators who co-operate and want to comply with the law, we will take action against those who don’t.
"Always make sure you are operating legally before embarking on a waste management activity or you are likely to get a visit from our enforcement officers.”