Director fined £25k for allowing toxic silt dump

6th March 2012

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Construction ,
  • Water ,
  • Ground ,
  • Pollution & Waste Management



The director of a marine waste management company has been held responsible for his firm's illegal disposal of toxic silt in a Cornish seaside conservation area and fined £25,000

A jury at Truro Crown Court found Peter Frampton, director of the company Oil and Water, guilty of offences under the Food and Environment Protection Act (FEPA) 1985, after his company failed to dispose of contaminated sediment in Falmouth docks properly.

In 2007, Oil and Water was contracted to demolish a wharf in Falmouth Docks and removal of the silt below by A&P Ports and Properties, as a part of the £8.8 million development project to create a 290-berth marina.

The silt was highly-contaminated by chemical compounds known as organotins, which were historically used on the bottom of boats to prevent the growth of growth of barnacles and weed. These chemicals are now known to be extremely toxic to the marine environment and can have detrimental effects to human health if they enter the food chain.

Under UK environmental protection legislation, dredging such toxic sediment requires a licence and specialist equipment to prevent the dispersal of toxins into the surrounding water. Disposal should then be made at specialist waste facility on land.

However, A&P Ports and Properties failed to mention the contamination in the sediment and Oil and Water had no such license and did not dredge the dock as required. Instead, investigators from the Marine and Fisheries Agency (now subsumed into the Marine Management Organisation) discovered in December 2007 that the firm was digging into the seabed and releasing the toxic sediment back into the dock, which is close to a site of special scientific interest, and near to oyster and mussel beds.

The company’s onsite diary recorded that workers had “dredged where the wharf was” and “shuffled silt around”.

In 2010, A&P Ports and Properties was forced to pay more than £630,000 in fines, costs and a confiscation order, for requesting that the contaminated silt be dredged despite knowing that it contained harmful toxins.

Frampton had denied charges that he was partly responsible for the illegal dumping of the silt, but was found to be in breach of his duty to supervise as a director of Oil and Water and that the offence was committed with his collusion.

In sentencing Frampton, Judge Clark QC said the case revealed a “public scandal that should be of great concern” and explained that, had Oil and Water not been in administration, he would have fined the company an additional £20,000.


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

Transform articles

Legal insight: updates on digital tracking and waste

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

Stuart McLachlan and Dean Sanders discuss their book: The Adventure of Sustainable Performance: Beyond ESG Compliance to Leadership in the New Era.

14th November 2023

Read more

From government compromises on retained EU law, to disposable vapes, Neil Howe provides an update on the ever-evolving world of environmental legislation

3rd August 2023

Read more

Litigation is becoming a key tool for delivering climate justice and action, with the number of court cases more than doubling worldwide in just five years, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has found.

27th July 2023

Read more

This legislative update has been provided by Cedrec Information Systems Ltd, available at In Partnership with Barbour EHS.

1st June 2023

Read more

In Sunbeam Fishing Ltd v Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the owner and operator of a sandeel fishing vessel argued that the secretary of state’s decision was unlawful in both substance and timing, and sought to ensure the same illegalities would not affect the UK fleet’s ability to catch sandeel in 2023.

31st May 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