Former Directors of Waste Site Admit Neglect by Breaching Permit Rules

We have learned Chelmsford Crown Court has fined two former directors of a company more than £22,000 and £19,000 in costs for accepting the wrong type of waste into a landfill site and not carrying out regular testing of waste. This case highlights to waste site operators the importance of being fully aware of permit conditions and ensuring compliance with the permit rules.

Colin Carr and David Bircher, former directors of Carr and Bircher Ltd, were deemed ‘negligent’ for not establishing a suitable testing programme and disposing of the incorrect type of waste into an Essex landfill between October 2012 and March 2015. The pair pleaded guilty and were sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court on 11th September.

The Court heard how the EA had given the company numerous warnings regarding  failure to test the waste that came into the site and for failing to reject unsuitable waste. Despite the warnings the company continued to operate in the same manner.

The landfill site was only permitted to accept inert waste, but when EA officers’ visited the site in August 2013 they identified large amounts of non-inert waste at the site. The company assured the EA the unauthorised waste would be removed but, on a follow-up visit in October it had still not been removed.

Mr Bircher was fined £15,400 plus costs of £9,600. 28 days to pay, 12 months’ imprisonment in default. Mr Carr was fined £7,000 plus costs of £9,600. 12 months to pay, 6 months’ imprisonment in default. The Maximum fine for environmental offences is unlimited and custodial sentences can be imposed of up to 5 years. This demonstrates how Courts are approaching cases where only a fine is deemed appropriate in the first instance. The sanction of an automatic custodial sentence for unpaid finds serves as a timely reminder that fines need to be paid.  This should also serve as a timely reminder to operators to be aware of their permit rules and to ensure compliance with the permit.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.