Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) officers first inspected Earthmover Tyre Recycling’s site in North Lanarkshire in January 2013 in response to an operator’s complaint.
They judged that the volume of tyres stored at the site on Netherton Industrial Estate, Wishaw, could not have been licensed. Officers were also concerned that tyres were stacked “haphazardly”, allowing insufficient access for fire trucks. In some places there were gaps of only a metre between stacks, far below the required 15m.
The regulator patrolled the site several times a day, along with Police Scotland, until 24-hour security was put in place. Sepa conducted a series of multi-agency meetings with NHS Lanarkshire, North Lanarkshire Council, fire and police services.
Sepa used its statutory powers to remove most of the tyres and chemicals from the site, costing the public purse more than £437,000.
Former company director Paul Cook pleaded guilty in February at Hamilton Sheriff Court to offences under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Later that month, he was sentenced to 14 months’ imprisonment and his company was fined £195,000 for illegally depositing and storing the tyres.