A Cornish waste disposal company has been ordered to pay £26,500 in fines and costs for illegally handling and disposing of hazardous waste.
Glebe Quarry Limited was also ordered to pay £17,000 compensation to a local farmer after waste contaminated with asbestos was dumped on his land. The case was brought by the Environment Agency.
The company, which trades as 1st Call Skips, operates a permitted waste transfer station at Glebe Quarry near Roche, St Austell. On 6 December 2017, the company pleaded guilty to 5 separate offences at Truro Crown Court.
The offences occurred at 3 sites in Cornwall, including the company’s own waste transfer station, a nearby farm and a site operated by the china clay company, Imerys.
The Environment Agency had earlier advised the company to improve Glebe Quarry after the drainage and concreting at the site was checked and found to be ‘inadequate’. No action was taken so the Environment Agency issued an enforcement notice requesting that improvements works be carried out.
Glebe Quarry Limited appealed, but the appeal was dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate; forcing the company to carry out the improvements that were finally completed in November 2016.
Further checks by the Environment Agency revealed the company had unlawfully dumped more than 2,400 tonnes of waste, some of which was contaminated with asbestos, on land which wasn’t authorised by their site permit. Glebe Quarry Limited continued illegally dumping waste at the site despite being warned they would be committing an offence if they carried on.
In 2015, the defendant also sent waste to Imerys Minerals Ltd with waste that should have been suitable for land improvements for restoring an area of china clay spoil heaps. However, it was later found to be contaminated with asbestos.
The asbestos was discovered before the waste was spread and the loads were returned to Glebe Quarry. Nearly 50 tonnes of hazardous material was removed by Glebe Quarry Limited but was never traced as no paperwork was kept.
Glebe Quarry Limited also supplied waste to local farms for use in low-risk activities such as the construction of farm tracks. This was done under an exemption which is an agreement that doesn’t require a permit. The waste supplied to one farm was heavily contaminated with asbestos and cost nearly £120,000 to clean-up.
Matthew Lee of the Environment Agency said:
This case sends a clear message to those who put profit ahead of the environment and human health.
As a minimum, we expect waste companies who hold environmental permits to act legally and should set an example to others, but the behaviour in this case has fallen far short of exemplary.
Appearing before Truro Crown Court on 22 June 2018, Glebe Quarry Limited was fined £12,500 for offences under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010, the Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2005, and the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
In addition to the financial penalty, the court ordered that Glebe Quarry Limited must proactively inform the Environment Agency which sites they are sending their waste to and they must also remedy the sites they have polluted.
If you see waste crime taking place report it by calling our incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60 or anonymously to Crimestoppers.