Two waste companies have been fined almost £50,000 in Scotland following investigations by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).
The operator of a Strathblane landfill site was fined £37,000 at Strirling Sheriff Court on Wednesday 8 May after landfilling “inappropriate waste” at their site for over two and a half years.
A Cumbernauld-based waste management company was also fined £12,000 for failing in its duty of care.
This means a total of six SEPA-led waste crime prosecutions in the last 12 months have resulted in £120,000 fines, £47,211 in confiscation orders and five community payback orders totalling 1,150 hours.
Muirhouse Landfill Limited pled guilty to two charges of failing to comply with six different conditions of their permit, one of which was that the site could only be used for landfilling inert waste.
Dow Waste Management Limited (which recently changed its name to Dow Group Limited) pled guilty to failing to properly describe their waste when completing waste transfer notes, and failing to have a system in place to identify problems.
Anne Anderson, SEPA chief officer said: “Every day SEPA works to protect and enhance Scotland’s environment and we’re clear that compliance is non-negotiable.
“This type of criminality has a serious impact on the local environment, legitimate waste operators and the local community as well as the public purse in lost landfill tax revenue.”
“SEPA is committed to cracking down on waste criminals and with the site receiving inappropriate wastes, its right that Muirhouse Landfill Limited was fined £37,000. This type of criminality has a serious impact on the local environment, legitimate waste operators and the local community as well as the public purse in lost landfill tax revenue.
“It’s also encouraging that Dow Waste Management Limited (now Dow Group Limited) was fined £12,000 for on occasions failing to properly identify and describe their waste which made it more difficult for people dealing with those wastes further down the line to satisfy themselves that they could accept the waste.”
Muirhouse Quarry in Strathblane was licensed as an inert landfill site by SEPA in March 2007. Examples of inert waste are gravel, sand, and stone. Inert landfill sites require different environmental controls than sites that accept waste that does degrade because degradable waste produces landfill gas and leachate.
In 2009 SEPA received a complaint that inappropriate waste was being disposed of at the site. On visiting the site officers found timber, plastics and polystyrene, which the site was not licensed to accept.
In 2011, SEPA officers witnessed waste being accepted outside the licence times and without being checked before disposal. On 10 October 2011 an enforcement notice was served in relation to 15 breaches of permit conditions, requiring these be remedied by 1 November.
Around the same time “concerning” groundwater results were submitted by the operator, as required in their permit, SEPA said. These showed that levels of chemical oxygen demand were between 12 and 18 times the permitted limit.
In March 2012, over three days of excavations, SEPA found “inappropriate waste types”, including wood, plastics, polystyrene, carpet, metals, papers, letters, cardboard, toys, shoes, books, clothing, tyres, hessian sacks, catalogues and magazines. “Many of the pits also had an odour of landfill gas and black-coloured leachate,” SEPA explained.
SEPA’s point of contact for the Muirhouse Quarry site was, until October 2011, one of the company’s directors. As he was also a director of Dow Waste Management Ltd, the investigation found that on occasion Dow Waste Management Ltd’s waste transfer notes “had not properly identified and described the nature of their waste, nor was there a system in place to identify notes that weren’t properly completed,” SEPA said.
Source: letsrecycle.com General