Donald Ward Limited, trading as Ward Recycling, was fined £270,000 for serious and persistent breaches of its environmental permits at two sites in Derbyshire; Griffon Road and Hallam Fields, and for illegally operating at Old Stanton Ironworks in Derbyshire.
In addition, prosecution costs of £100,000 were ordered, bringing the total fines and costs to £370,000. The fines included costs avoided by the company of £40,000.
The company was sentenced at Derby Crown Court on Thursday 21st April for breaches of the Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations. They pleaded guilty to 3 offences at an earlier court hearing.
Between March 2012 and June 2013 the company failed to operate its permitted sites at Griffon Road and Hallam Fields properly in that they failed to adequately control the amount of waste on site.
Waste brought onto the Griffon Road site was stored for longer than permitted and was seen to be engulfing the outside storage bays. The odorous nature of some waste resulted in fly infestation. At Hallam Fields Road, waste was stored in such significant quantities that it posed a fire risk.
The company had been under investigation by the Environment Agency following complaints from the public, but despite a number of opportunities to improve its operations, failed to bring the sites back into compliance.
In addition, the company operated an illegal waste operation on nearby land at Old Stanton Iron works from February to July 2013. Waste including redox fines and fragmentiser fluff generated from the permitted sites was stored in significant quantities on land without any appropriate permits or in accordance with exemptions. When officers visited, one of the waste piles appeared to be steaming.
Speaking following the case, an Environment Agency officer involved with the investigation said: "We grant, monitor and enforce waste permits so that we can ensure that waste operations do not pollute the environment and pose a risk to human health. Donald Ward Limited failed to comply with their environmental permit despite multiple warning letters and enforcement notices issued by the Environment Agency.
"This prosecution demonstrates that we take cases such as this very seriously and will not hesitate to prosecute if necessary, to protect the environment and local communities".
In passing sentence His Honour Judge Bennett stated that the offences were aggravated by the company's previous offending history, the length of time over which the offences occurred and the fact that by the time offences at Hallam Fields Road and Old Stanton Iron works were committed, the company knew it was under investigation by the Environment Agency.