Press release

Smelly site drove people indoors

Waste operator Alan Teesdale has been sentenced to 9 months imprisonment suspended for 2 years for running an illegal site.

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He used land at Great Fen Road in Boston, Lincolnshire which was not suitable and the judge told him that he was not properly prepared either, despite repeated advice from the Environment Agency.

Judge Stuart Rafferty sitting at Lincoln Crown Court also ordered him on Friday (9 Jan) to pay a contribution to the prosecution costs of £2,500.

Teesdale registered three exemptions with the Environment Agency to store, clean and treat waste plastics and cardboard at the site but in April 2013 complaints were made about smells and an investigation began.

The court was told that some people living nearby described the smells as ‘pungent like rotting meat’ and were forced to close their doors and windows and stay indoors. One man had to abandon his gardening as the smell gave him a headache and he was sick.

Plastic containers with food remains and liquids were found being stored outside and the smell was so strong it went beyond the boundary of the site.

Mrs Anne-Lise McDonald, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, told the court that the site drained into the South Forty Foot Drain and Teesdale had been sent warning letters for polluting the river in 2011, and a field ditch in 2012.

In April 2013 he was told that the site did not comply with the exemptions he had registered, because he was causing odour pollution, rats and flies.

A month later there was more waste on site. An officer saw waste being washed close to a surface water drain and Teesdale was told to stop and to clear waste from around the drain as there was no sealed drainage in breach of one of the exemptions.

Mrs McDonald told the court that despite the warnings, during June and July liquid was allowed to leak onto the ground and water in the surface water drains was milky grey.

Teesdale was asked to produce an action plan showing how he proposed to comply with his exemptions but nothing changed and the relevant exemption was de-registered. He was told to remove all the waste from the land by 1 August. It was still there on 2 August and there were tanks full of washwater, fat and foods on site.

He told investigators that he had operated from the site for 3 years but had not realized what he was getting into. He had taken more waste than could be managed.

In mitigation, Andrew Vout, said Teesdale had simply got in over his head. He said Teesdale should have turned waste away. He said he had since cleared the site.

Judge Rafferty said the waste activity was clearly beyond Teesdale’s ability and he allowed it to go on causing horrendous odours, rats and flies. He gave him credit for clearing the site and his early guilty plea. He said he would like to fine him the costs he avoided from his illegal operations but said Teesdale had insufficient finance.

After the hearing Environment Agency officer Emma Ayers said:

Unregulated waste sites can cause harm to the environment and people. Neighbours of this site were subjected to horrible smells for 4 months and the river was at serious risk of pollution.

Teesdale pleaded guilty to:

Between 15 April 2013 and 18 February 2014 on land at Great Fen Road, Boston, Lincolnshire, PE21 7PB you operated a regulated facility, namely a waste operation for the deposit, storage and treatment of waste, without being authorised by an environmental permit granted under Regulation 13 of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010.

Contrary to Regulations 12(1)(a) and 38(1)(a) Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010.

Published 14 January 2015