The operator and the landowner of an illegal waste site in an Essex village have been ordered to pay a total of £66,493
Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard that 14,700 tonnes of inert waste was stored on land behind a residential address known as Gean Tree in Great Horkesley north of Colchester ‘grossly’ breaching a waste exemption and planning rules.
George Nicholas James Dench pleaded guilty to running the illegal site and failing to comply with an enforcement notice to remove the waste. He was ordered to pay a total of £32,895 in fines and costs by Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on Monday (6 Mar).
Annette Ismay Williams, who owned the land pleaded guilty to allowing the illegal waste site to run and to failing to clear the land under an enforcement notice and has to pay a total of £33,598 fines and costs.
Mrs Miriam Tordoff, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, told the court the waste had been deposited there over 2.5 years.
Williams lives at the address with her partner and their son George Dench who sought out companies to dump the waste there. He was paid £64,704.
Mrs Tordoff said only certain relatively low risk activities can be covered by an exemption which sets out conditions that must be met at all times. These include not risking human health nor the environment, not causing a nuisance with noise or odours and not adversely affecting the countryside or places of special interest.
The exemption registered by Williams allowed the use of certain types of inert waste in construction and the limit for waste soils and stones was 1,000 tonnes in any 3 years. That target was reached in the first month.
A further exemption allowed the treatment of up to 5,000 tonnes of waste in any 3 years, providing it was also used on the same site and only stored for a year.
Dench told investigating officers he had brought the soils to the site to repair the bank of a lake there. Williams said she just did the admin work. Both said they did not know how many tonnes the exemption allowed for.
Dench said he had not taken in the soils for financial gain as he was now bankrupt and he had not taken in any more since.
Mrs Tordoff told magistrates that Environment Agency officers had advised and written to the 2 saying the site needed to be cleared and operated properly.
Between September 2012 and March 2015 the Agency received 34 complaints about activities at the site.
After the hearing Environment Agency Enforcement Team Leader Lesley Robertson said:
We advised the defendants several times against accepting any more soils at the site but they continued to take it.
The site is in a village close to other homes and operations there affected people living nearby.
Councillor Simon Walsh, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste, said:
This case is an example to show landowners that risk taking is not acceptable, whether it is a risk that concerns human health or the environment.
Owning a piece of land means accepting a responsibility to the surrounding area and all that resides there, be it business, homes or wildlife.
Notes for Editors:
Breakdown of costs and fines:
Dench: EA offence – fined £14,353 plus £8,103 (a share of the full costs)
ECC offence – fined £9,568 plus £750 costs
Williams: EA offence – fined £14,775 plus £8,103 (a share of the full costs)
ECC offence – fined £9,850 plus £750 costs