Three businessmen have been ordered to pay more than £262,000 in fines, proceeds of crime payments and costs for illegally dumping more than 60,000 tonnes of waste on two farms near Callington, Cornwall.
The case was brought by the Environment Agency.
Farmers David Stroud and Darren Pearce and waste haulier, Andrew Duncan, who runs haulage company Dunchaul Limited, were caught following a detailed investigation by the Environment Agency that revealed how they had deposited tonnes of demolition and construction waste in the Cornish countryside.
Anyone who deposits waste on land needs to do so with the permission of the Environment Agency and comply with the conditions of an authorisation. When waste is transferred, there is a legal requirement that it is accompanied by Waste Transfer Notes and that these are correctly completed, distributed and retained by all the parties involved.
Truro Crown Court heard that as an experienced haulier, Andrew Duncan and his company Dunchaul Limited would have been well aware of these conditions.
Between June 2010 and September 2012, Stroud and Pearce were involved in the tipping of construction, demolition waste and soil at two different farms near Callington in Cornwall, operated by the two men. They were known locally as ‘Dunchaul’s tips.’
Nearly 66,000 tonnes of waste was deposited between the two farms, and both were only eligible for 1,000 tonnes of sub-soil and 5,000 tonnes of concrete, rubble and bricks. The waste deposited by Dunchaul Ltd was sub-soil from development sites, therefore the 1,000 tonne limit applies.
At Axford Farm, one of the fields had poor drainage and Stroud wanted to raise the level of the field to improve it. The building of a new Tesco store nearby produced a large quantity of excavation spoil and this was used for the project from June 2010.
The court heard there was no construction project, as a land-raising activity is not classified as ‘construction’ and the tonnage deposited was way in excess of the prescribed limit of 1,000 tonnes. Some of the waste tipped on the raised field slipped into a nearby stream.
Dunchaul tipped at Axford farm for a year and when that had finished made arrangements with Pearce and started tipping on his Lower Trebrown farm to help with building farm tracks to connect one part of his farm with another across a deep and wooded valley. No planning permission was applied for in respect of this work.
From July 2011 to September 2012, 37,219 tonnes of waste were deposited. According to Waste Transfer Notes supplied by Dunchaul, only 20,565 tonnes were delivered.
The Environment Agency said the discrepancy between Dunchaul’s records and those of the other parties was clear evidence of a breach of the duty to accurately complete, provide and retain waste transfer notes.
Judge Carr said legislation was there to ensure waste was deposited in proper landfill sites but this case was ‘a long term avoidance of rules and regulations’.
Substantial amounts of waste went to two farms which were paid to receive the waste. This was obviously done to increase the profitability of the company over a significant period of time and was well organised.
Judge Carr added the only purpose for Duncan was for financial gain through winning contracts by undercutting legitimate hauliers. He wanted the fines to reflect there is no profitability in illegal activity.
Sophie Unsworth for the Environment Agency said:
Waste crime can cause serious pollution to the environment, put communities at risk and undermines legitimate business and the investment and economic growth that goes with it.
We take tough action against poor performing companies and those who commit waste crime.
Darren Pearce was earlier fined £7,500, and ordered to pay £7,500 costs for operating a regulated facility without a permit. He was also ordered to make a Proceeds of Crime payment of £59,500.
Stroud was fined £5,000 for also operating a facility without a permit, with £5,000 costs and a £30,000 payment under Proceeds of Crime legislation.
Dunchaul Limited and Andrew Duncan were fined £30,000, with costs of £20,000 for failing to comply with a duty of care in respect of waste transfer notes, depositing waste without a permit and permitting the depositing of controlled waste without a permit . Under Proceeds of Crime, Duncan and his company were ordered to pay £100,000.