Three waste disposal companies have been fined £112,700 after repeatedly falsifying paperwork and dumping waste on golf courses and farms
Waste processing firms Countrystyle Recycling and FGS AGRI, their owner Trevor Heathcote, and haulage company Mark Luck Limited, pleaded guilty to a series of waste disposal offences, after an Environment Agency investigation confirmed that waste from Countrystyle sites had been deliberately misrepresented in waste transfer notes and disposed of as soil to save money.
Throughout January–March 2011, materials left over from processing waste from skips, known as “fines”, were taken from Countrystyle Recycling’s waste transfer stations in Folkestone and Strood, and disposed of as soil at Deansgate Golf Course, despite being previously warnings from the Environment Agency.
In autumn 2010, the agency discovered that Countrystyle Recycling was tipping fines on a driving range and an inert landfill in Kent, while describing the waste as soil. The agency advised the company it was illegal to do so. However, the firm continued to dispose of fines as soil in 2011, saving the firm £215–£270 per lorry load.
The agency also discovered that between May and June 2011, 29 lorry loads of fines labeled as “aggregates” were moved from the Strood site and disposed of without charge at Stanford Bridge Farm, the base for FGS AGRI, an agricultural contracting firm also owned by Countrystyle Recycling’s director Heathcote.
Dumping the waste at the farm saved the company up to £9,570, and risked polluting both the ground and watercourses according to the agency. The waste was subsequently removed.
Canterbury Magistrates’ Court fined Countrystyle Recycling £46,000, while imposing fines of £40,000 on FGS AGRI and £26,700 on Mark Luck Limited. Heathcote was separately fined £86,000.
Jamie Hamilton, the investigating Environment Agency officer, said: “The Environment Agency will not tolerate large waste companies failing in their duty of care, manipulating their paperwork or illegally depositing polluting waste for financial gain.”
The prosecution came as the agency revealed that serious pollution incidents in England and Wales rose 11% in 2011. In its latest sustainable business report, it confirmed that companies involved in waste activities caused 101 serious pollution incidents in 2011, up from 75 incidents in 2010.