Fine for sewage waste dumping

VAT

A lorry driver has been fined £1,352 after he was videoed discharging liquid waste from his tanker vehicle onto the road and nearby drain in a village in Tyne & Wear.

A passing motorist filmed Stanley Hall discharging the black liquid from his vehicle into the highway drain on the B6317 near Crawcrook in July 2017.

Defending himself at Gateshead Magistrates’ Court, Hall accepted that what he’d done was wrong, although insisted he had been placed under pressure to do so by his now former Hartlepool based employers as the tanker had to be taken in for repairs that evening.

Records confirmed the defendant drove his vehicle from Hartlepool to Ryton where approximately 8,000 litres of waste was drawn out from a storage tank and taken to a sewage treatment works.

Hall then made the return journey to extract a further 8,000 litres, but rather than taking it to the sewage works he emptied the contents on to the road.

An Environment Agency (EA) officer later attended the scene and decided no obvious lasting impact was made upon the watercourse.

Rachael Caldwell, EA area environment manager, said: “Discharging any contaminated liquid waste is a serious offence as it could cause an unlimited amount of damage to the environment and if it ends up in the local watercourse it could have an impact on residents and wildlife.”

Police disappointment at truck driver offending

Police say they are “disappointed” that lorry drivers are still committing driving offences such as not wearing seatbelts and using their mobiles at the wheel, following a road safety operation.

More than 80 HGV offences were committed by HGV drivers during a 10-day road safety operation in the North West.

Cheshire police’s commercial vehicle unit dealt with 72 drivers for various offences, including parking on the hard shoulder.

Officers found 10 drivers using their mobile phones at the wheel, 23 were found to be not in proper control of their vehicle, 36 were driving without wearing a seatbelt, two had stopped on the hard shoulder and there were 16 various other offences.

The North West Regional Commercial Vehicle Unit (NWCVU) relied on an unmarked HGV supplied by Highways England to gather video evidence and monitor driver behaviour.

PC Chris Buckley, of the NWCVU said: “While this was a successful operation it is disappointing that some lorry drivers are still committing driving offences.

“Lorry drivers should know that the law is in place to ensure the safety of not only themselves but other road users too.

  • A recent High Court Judgement has clarified that using a mobile phone at the wheel is not an offence unless it is proven beyond reasonable doubt that the phone was being used for an “interactive telecommunications function”. It could mean that the law is rewritten following the case of Director of Public Prosecutions v Barreto, in which the police spotted the defendant filming with his mobile phone while driving past a crash.