Waste company fined £1m for a series of offences

14th April 2016


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  • Business & Industry ,
  • Waste ,
  • Prosecution ,
  • Corporate fine

Author

Anne Coutant

Waste firm Powerday has been ordered to pay more than £1.2m after pleading guilty in two cases involving more than 17,000 tonnes of waste illegally stored and deposited.

The first case involved a number of offences related to receiving and storing large quantities of hazardous waste at the company’s main operating site in Willesden, London in 2010.

Approximately 14,500 tonnes of hazardous waste, including construction and demolition waste containing asbestos, contaminated concrete and treated wood, was taken to the company’s transfer station from development sites in London and a power station in Nottinghamshire.

At a previous hearing at Harrow Crown Court, Powerday had argued that the site permit allowed it to legally store more than 10 tonnes of certain types of hazardous waste at Willesden. However, judge HHJ Barklem ruled in favour of the Environment Agency, which had argued that the permit did not allow such quantities of hazardous waste to be stored at one time.

The second case related to offences at a site operated by Aylesbury Mushroom Farms in Oxfordshire in 2012 where approximately 3,000 tonnes of non-hazardous trommel fines originating from Powerday’s Willesden site were deposited.

Powerday had previously agreed in court to remove all of the waste deposited at the farm, and completed this in 2015. The waste had been deposited with the permission of the operator of the farm, but not in accordance with any relevant environmental permit or registered exemption, the agency said.

The waste firm’s legal team argued that the cases were now several years in the past, that the company had corrected and improved its systems and procedures, and that it had since developed excellent working relations with the agency.

Mick Crossan, owner of Powerday, said he was pleased the matter was resolved but frustrated that the agency did not raise the issue during regular visits to the Willesden site.

‘As soon as we were notified of a potential breach we stopped relevant operations. The parties subsequently worked together during 2011 and 2012 to agree a new environmental permit which clarified previous areas of ambiguity which we have operated successfully ever since,’ he said.

Since the incidents, the firm had introduced improved governance and management systems consistent with the increased scope and scale of the business, he added.

A breakdown of the fine relating to the Willesden operation:

- £350,000 for failing to comply with its environmental permit between 31 December 2009 and 6 April 2010 in that it stored more than 10 tonnes of hazardous waste at the Willesden site for disposal.

- £350,000 for a similar offence that occurred between 6 April and 1 January 2011.

- £200,000 for treating, keeping or disposing controlled waste in a manner likely to cause pollution or harm to human health.

In relation to the Aylesbury Mushroom Farm operation:

- £100,000 for depositing controlled waste in breach of the environmental permit.

The company admitted breach of the waste duty of care at both sites and the hazardous waste regulations at the Willesden site, but the court did not issue a separate fine for these offences. In addition to the fines, Powerday was ordered to pay £243,955 in costs to the regulator.

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