The company, which was also fined £30,000 and ordered to pay a contribution to the prosecution costs of £20,000, admitted taking waste to the Yarmouth Road site.
It said excess waste was treated and sold off site. The remainder formed the basis of a golf course.
Mr Mark Watson, representing the Environment Agency, said in essence the company was running a waste transfer station. An exemption had been registered for the site but it only allowed the use of suitable waste for small scale construction to avoid the use of virgin raw materials.
The limit under the exemption was 5,000 tonnes of aggregates – company records showed that 94,000 tonnes had been taken to the site, he said.
Mr Watson said:
The exemption does not allow the treatment of waste and does not allow for the use of any contaminated soil.
He told the court that when Environment Agency officers first visited the site they saw piles of various wastes which included soil, rubble, asphalt, and aggregate fines.
There was evidence the company had taken waste from a groundworks company, a contractor for 2 developers who were building at nearby sites, 1 of which required remediation due to historic soil contamination. He also said some of the waste that had been treated at the Blofield site had been sold.
Mr Watson said:
The company turnover from the site was in excess of £500,000 and it also gained financially by not paying for permit applications and subsistence fees.
Mr Andrew McGee, representing the company, said that it was not a deliberate breach of the law but a negligent breach. He said the company kept consistent records and co-operated with the investigation.
Judge Katherine Moore found the culpability of the company to be significantly reckless. She made a confiscation order to include the avoided tipping fees, avoided permit fees and money made from selling aggregates from the treatment of waste.
After the hearing investigating Environment Agency officer Louise Howard said:
Abuse of low risk exemptions to operate waste sites which require full environmental permits is not something the Environment Agency tolerates.
Illegal waste sites of this sort impact on the legitimate waste trade by undercutting and have the potential to adversely impact the environment.
Along with investigating and taking enforcement action against these crimes, we are also making greater use of the Proceeds of Crime Act to further deter repeat offending.
The company pleaded guilty at an earlier court hearing to:
- Between 15 March 2011 and 26 November 2012 at land off Yarmouth Road, Blofield, Norfolk, NR13 4JS you did operate a regulated facility, namely a waste operation for the deposit and disposal of waste, without being authorised by an environmental permit granted under Regulation 13 of the of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010.
Contrary to Regulation 12(1)(a) and 38(1)(a) Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010.
- Between 15 March 2011 and 26 November 2012 on land off Yarmouth Road, Blofield, Norfolk, NR13 4JS you did treat controlled waste when there was not in force an environmental permit granted by the enforcing authority pursuant to sections 35 and 36 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 authorising the said treatment.
Contrary to section 33(1)(b) and 33(6) Environmental Protection Act 1990