£40k penalty for illegally burning waste

27th September 2012

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Pollution & Waste Management ,
  • Air ,
  • Waste ,
  • Disposal



A skip hire company that claimed a fire on its site had been started by a 'stray firework', has been ordered to pay £40,000 after aerial photography proved it regularly burned waste

Lincolnshire firm Forceshift and its owner, Ronnie Bennet, pleaded guilty to breaching the company’s environmental permit by burning waste, despite being warned by the Environment Agency that it was illegal to do so.

In November 2010, a large fire covering 600 square metres broke out at Forceshift’s waste transfer site in Westville. While the firm maintained the fire had been started accidently by a firework, it agreed to a new site waste management plan stating that “no material [would] be burnt” and that any fire at the site would be an emergency situation.

However, in 2011 agency inspectors saw flames and plumes of smoke several metres high at the site, and aerial photography taken on four separate occasions confirmed that fires were being lit and that waste, including wood, metal and plastic, was being put on the fires.

Boston Magistrates’ Court heard that the agency found evidence of a further 12 fires at the site between November 2010 and October 2011. Ruby Hamid, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, told magistrates that the firm had burnt the waste to save money.

“The burning was deliberate or reckless and [Bennet] and his company were told not to burn but the burning continued,” she told magistrates.

Environment Agency senior manager Norman Robinson said: “Tonnes of waste were burned illegally for months without concern, releasing pollution to air and a smoke plume visible for miles.”

Forceshift and Bennet were fined a total of £26,000 for breaching permitting regulations and Environmental Protection Act 1990, and ordered to pay another £14,000 in costs.


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

Fifth of UK food firms unprepared for deforestation regulation

One in five UK food businesses are not prepared for EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) coming into force in December, a new survey has uncovered.

16th May 2024

Read more

Regulatory gaps between the EU and UK are beginning to appear, warns Neil Howe in this edition’s environmental legislation round-up

4th April 2024

Read more

Dr Julie Riggs issues a call to arms to tackle a modern-day human tragedy

15th March 2024

Read more

The UK’s new biodiversity net gain (BNG) requirements could create 15,000 hectares of woodlands, heath, grasslands, and wetlands and absorb 650,000 tonnes of carbon each year.

13th March 2024

Read more

Campaign group Wild Justice has accused the UK government of trying to relax pollution rules for housebuilders “through the backdoor”.

14th February 2024

Read more

Digital tracking, packaging data delays and new collections provide a waste focus for this edition’s environmental round-up by legislation expert Neil Howe

28th November 2023

Read more

Environmental crimes could result in prison sentences of up to 10 years and company fines of 5% of turnover under a proposed EU law agreed by the European parliament and council.

21st November 2023

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close