An Environment Agency investigation into illegal tipping on a flood plain near the River Medway in Kent has resulted in two waste companies being prosecuted.
Charges were brought against Fastrac Contractors and Utilities Limited, of Cuxton Industrial Estate – and Bennett Grab Services, of Burleigh Sole Street in Cobham, Gravesend – after Environment Agency officers discovered building waste and rubble being tipped at River House, Station Road in Cuxton, which was not covered by an environmental permit.
On a site visit in 2013, Fastrac company director Mr Paul Davies had admitted to having tipped 80 loads of waste at the site.
The Environment Agency issued a letter requiring Fastrac to cease illegally tipping waste at the location until the appropriate permission had been obtained.
However, after no further information had been supplied by Fastrac, in November 2013 the Environment Agency served statutory notices on both Fastrac and the landowner to provide waste transfer information about wastes deposited at this site.
The information revealed that a further 47 lorry loads of waste had been received at the site since the letter of 12 July sent by the agency.
In interviews, Mr Davies said that the landowner was a friend of his who had asked him to fill in some land.
He stated that his company did not tip waste at the site after the date of the warning letter – but added that waste materials taken from third party construction sites were being stored there.
However, Mr Davies later conceded that he had tipped nine loads at the site –
and he said he later understood that he had committed an offence.
The Environment Agency investigation also discovered Bennett Grab Services had deposited soil at the same location.
At Sevenoaks Magistrates Court, Fastrac Contractors and Utilities Limited were found guilty in their absence and fined £40,000 with £1,650 costs.
In sentencing Fastrac Contractors and Utilities Limited, magistrates acknowledged that the continued tipping had been a deliberate act and that there had been a risk of harm to the environment.
Bennett Grab Services pleaded guilty and were fined £2,000, with costs of £404.
In sentencing Bennett Grab Services, magistrates took into consideration their early guilty plea – but said that a company in the waste business should be aware of the checks that needed to be made to ensure a site was properly authorised before depositing waste.
Environment Agency Environment Manager Alan Cansdale said:
“The court heard today how waste crime can undermine legitimate businesses and damage the environment.
“The illegally tipped waste in Cuxton compromised the flood plain around the River Medway.
“Without an environmental permit application, no assessment had been made regarding the impact of deposits in this area of flood plain and the potential to exacerbate flooding elsewhere.
“In cases like this, where individuals or businesses operate illegally, the Environment Agency has no hesitation in prosecuting.”
Duncan Lewis Criminal Solicitors
Duncan Lewis criminal solicitors can advise companies and individuals facing charges relating to fly tipping, or offences relating to hazardous materials or health and safety issues.
There are Duncan Lewis offices nationwide and in most major cities – and a criminal defence lawyer can usually reach a police station for interview under caution within an hour.
Duncan Lewis can also attend interviews with other prosecuting authorities such as local councils, the Environment Agency and HSE.
For expert legal advice on all criminal charges, call Duncan Lewis criminal solicitors on 020 7923 4020.
For 24/7 help at a police station, call the Duncan Lewis Emergency Hotline on 020 7275 2036.