‘Illegal and unscrupulous’ waste criminals ordered to pay £175,000
Two known criminals and their company have been fined £175,000 – one of the highest ever to be imposed on individual defendants following an Environment Agency prosecution – after being found guilty of illegal waste tipping and storage at Baldwins Farm and Bush Farm in Essex.
PCS Recycling and its owners were investigated under suspicion of depositing waste, including potentially hazardous materials, by the Environment Agency between 1 March 2012 and 8 May 2013.
During the investigation, Agency officers discovered that Baldwins Farm was being used as an illegal waste site, with at least 7,000 tonnes of waste being deposited there between 1 March and 31 August 2012.
Furthermore, officers discovered a vast area the size of two football pitches where waste had been tipped and spread, accumulating to over 15 metres high in places.
Corbally Snr and Jr both pleaded guilty to operating a regulated facility without a permit at Baldwins Farm, as well as being responsible for another organised illegal tip at a nearby site, known as Bush Farm (Priory Angling Club).
At this second site, the defendants were responsible for depositing in excess of 9,000 tonnes of waste. The estimated cost to the landowners (Cemex UK) of clearing and remediating the site of waste was up to £3 million pounds.
The sentence was imposed on the basis that the defendants had acted deliberately. There had been major costs of site remediation and significant interference with lawful waste operators, whose legitimate businesses had been undermined.
“We hope this sentence serves as a message to those involved that we won’t stop the fight against this blight,” said Sarah Mills, the Enforcement Team Leader at the Environment Agency, “and that it acts as a deterrent against those who undermine legitimate businesses within the industry.”
‘Illegal and unscrupulous waste criminals’
“Due to the complexity of the case, it took a lot of resources to get the right outcome from this investigation,” added Mills.
“Waste crime is a serious issue diverting as much as £1 billion per annum from legitimate business and treasury. Since April 2011 the Environment Agency has invested £65.2 million in tackling it.
“Illegal and unscrupulous waste criminals are working with total disregard for the environment, landowners, legal waste operators and any member of the public who use the land. We are determined to stop them by working with our partners in a collaborative effort.
“We urge any landowners, farmers, ramblers or dog walkers who find these sites to call us immediately.”