A Birmingham recycling firm has been ordered to pay almost £100,000 in fines and costs for commercial and industrial waste offences, prompting it to move to a bigger facility.
Weir Waste Services Ltd, with a site in Bordesley Green, was fined £46,250 and ordered to pay £50,000 costs at Birmingham Crown Court for breaching its environmental permit and failure to comply with an enforcement notice.
The company, which operates a permitted waste transfer station off Doris Road, admitted both offences in a prosecution brought by the Environment Agency (EA).
According to the agency, the amount of commercial and demolition waste stored at the site exceeded the permit limit over a three-month period, with charges brought under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010.
Officers initially found the excessive amount of waste during a site audit in November 2012. The EA then served a Regulation 36 enforcement notice after the company failed to reduce it, which meant the company had until January 2013 to comply.
After stockpiles further increased, the EA served a suspension notice in March, preventing the company from bringing any more waste on to the site. The site was then cleared in a short period.
The offences were said to be aggravated by the company continuing to accept waste when it knew the amount on-site was already over the permitted level.
But the judge said Weir Waste had co-operated and engaged with the EA, so the sentence was reduced because the company had pleaded guilty.
The court heard the company now intends to move operations to a new facility to ensure the problems are not repeated.
After the case, EA deputy director Lisa Pinney said: “The EA will take strong enforcement action when companies continue to store grossly excessive levels of waste even after they’ve been warned they must improve.
“We do everything we can to protect the environment, and this case sends out a clear message that we will not hesitate to prosecute as necessary when environmental damage is caused.”
Weir said its breach of storage limits was caused by the “perfect storm” of poor weather conditions and a series of mechanical failures at its Bordesley Green satellite site.
Managing director Daniel Weir said: “A full review of the management operating procedures has been undertaken and improved procedures implemented to address the concerns of the EA. But Weir considers it necessary to tackle the root cause of what the court considered to be an unworkable site.”
The company has now moved its operations to a £10m recycling and recovery plant (below) at Trinity Street, Oldbury, which opened in 2013.
Trinity street facility
Weir Waste Services is a founding member of the National Resource Consortium, which is set to launch next month. The NRC is a group of independent smaller recycling companies set up to bid for national commercial waste contracts.