Press release

Ban for waste management directors who failed to comply with environmental laws

Stewart Adrian Wagstaff and Janice Evelyn Wagstaff, directors of Total Waste Management Ltd (TWM) were disqualified for nine years and seven years respectively.

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Following an Insolvency Service investigation, on 3 November 2017, the County Court at Wakefield disqualified Mr and Mrs Wagstaff for failing to ensure that TWM complied with its statutory obligations under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 resulting in the risk of serious pollution.

In addition, at a time Mr Wagstaff knew or ought to have known the company was insolvent he allowed the company to pay funds of at least £55,653 which was due to TWM into his personal bank account.

The Insolvency Service’s investigation involved close liaison and cooperation with the Environment Agency, who carried out inspections at the company’s trading site in Goole from 2014 to July 2015 noting breaches of TWM’s environment permit.

Between May 2015 and June 2015 three fires broke out at the trading site. This ultimately led to an enforcement notice from the Environment Agency prohibiting TWM from receiving certain types of waste and requiring the company to take steps to remove the risk of serious pollution with immediate effect. Soon after the enforcement notice was served the company entered liquidation.

Commenting on the disqualification, Robert Clarke, Investigations Group Leader at the Insolvency Service said:

The failure by the directors of TWM to comply with environmental protection legislation presented a significant risk of pollution to both the environment and the public.

The disqualification of Mr and Mrs Wagstaff sends a clear message that corporate entities failing to comply with legislation which is in place to protect environmental interests will not be tolerated.

I would like to thank the Environment Agency for supporting our investigation and helping to ensure a successful outcome.

Notes to editors

Total Waste Management Ltd (Company Registration Number 007861416) was placed into Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL) on 13 July 2015 with a deficiency as regards creditors of £1,055,131.

The company, which was incorporated on 25 November 2011, traded as a specialist waste management company dealing in the treatment and disposal of non-hazardous waste, from Unit 2 Long Lane, Great Heck, Goole, DN14 0BT.

On 3 November 2017, the Court ordered that Mr & Mrs Wagstaff, both of Goole, would not act as directors for 9 years and 7 years respectively. The disqualification came into effect on 3 November 2017.

The order was pronounced by District Judge Ellington at the County Court at Wakefield. The Insolvency Service was represented by Simon Charles (Counsel) and Gowling WLG (UK) LLP (solicitors).

The defendants represented themselves however they did not attend the hearing on 3 November 2017.

Mr Wagstaff’s date of birth is November 1961 and Mrs Wagstaff’s date of birth is April 1963.

A disqualification order has the effect that without specific permission of a court, a person with a disqualification cannot:

  • act as a director of a company
  • take part, directly or indirectly, in the promotion, formation or management of a company or limited liability partnership
  • be a receiver of a company’s property

Persons subject to a disqualification order are bound by a range of other restrictions.

The Insolvency Service, an executive agency sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), administers the insolvency regime, and aims to deliver and promote a range of investigation and enforcement activities both civil and criminal in nature, to support fair and open markets. We do this by effectively enforcing the statutory company and insolvency regimes, maintaining public confidence in those regimes and reducing the harm caused to victims of fraudulent activity and to the business community, including dealing with the disqualification of directors in corporate failures.

BEIS’ mission is to build a dynamic and competitive UK economy that works for all, in particular by creating the conditions for business success and promoting an open global economy. The Criminal Investigations and Prosecutions team contributes to this aim by taking action to deter fraud and to regulate the market. They investigate and prosecute a range of offences, primarily relating to personal or company insolvencies.

The agency also authorises and regulates the insolvency profession, assesses and pays statutory entitlement to redundancy payments when an employer cannot or will not pay employees, provides banking and investment services for bankruptcy and liquidation estate funds and advises ministers and other government departments on insolvency law and practice.

Further information about the work of the Insolvency Service, and how to complain about financial misconduct, is available.

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Published 22 December 2017