Case law >> Brazil waste case breaches UK and international laws

10th April 2013

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  • Pollution & Waste Management



Hayley Tam and George Hobson, from LexisPSL, describe the outcome of the biggest-ever waste case prosecuted by the Environment Agency

Five defendants have been sentenced for illegally shipping waste from the UK after what the Environment Agency describes as the biggest waste crime investigation and prosecution to date.

In Da Costa and others v Environment Agency, the defendants were convicted for exporting more than 1,500 tonnes of contaminated household waste to Brazil in breach of the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations 2007 and the OECD Decision on transfrontier movements of hazardous waste. Company directors and officers were held liable in addition to their businesses.

The agency’s investigation involved environmental crime officers, forensics experts, intelligence agents and surveillance specialists, and discovered contaminated items, including nappies, syringes and catheter bags.

The waste was shipped via two Swindon-based companies, which are now dissolved. Two directors were sentenced after pleading guilty; a third remains at large.

Julio Da Costa was given a two-year conditional discharge and a £500 fine and Juliano Da Costa an 18-month conditional discharge and a £500 fine. The pair had previously denied any role in the illegal export of 89 40ft containers of prohibited waste to Santos and Rio Grande do Sul.

Some of the containers were loaded at a site in Essex run by Edwards Waste Paper Limited. It was fined £45,000 and ordered to pay £40,000 in costs.

In addition, company director Simon Edwards was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 costs, while sales manager Jonathan Coombe was conditionally discharged for two years and fined £250.


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