Winters Haulage in Hitchin has been fined £510,000 and its director has been given a community order for illegally storing baled waste.
A judge at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court said director Liam Winters was “certainly reckless” after he used a site to store thousands of tonnes of the combustible waste, known as refuse derived fuel (RDF), which posed a significant fire risk.
The company, which is now in liquidation, operated its Hitchin address under an environmental permit, but it also operated a site at Royston without a permit, which is required by law.
The Environment Agency said it had told Winters Haulage to clear waste from the Royston site but that 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 Royston.
In mitigation, the company’s solicitor said it had used the Royston site as a temporary measure and that Winters Haulage had not intended to undermine the statutory regime.
Director Winters was ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work as part of a 12-month community order and he was also ordered to pay £8,850 in costs.
Of the company’s fine, £450,000 was money saved or avoided by committing the offences. It was also ordered to pay costs of £30,000.
The court heard that it will cost landowner Anglian Water Group around £1.9m to clean up and restore the site to its previous condition.
Environment Agency team leader Phil Henderson said: “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.”
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