A South London waste management company has been fined £51,500 for storing over 20 times more waste than permitted at their Erith site.
Metropolitan Waste Management pleaded guilty to 14 charges at Bromley Magistrates Court and also had to pay £9,773 in costs.
The company turns wood and general waste into material suitable for energy from waste (EfW) plants. This process can cause dust pollution if not controlled properly, and permit conditions are in place to stop this pollution, noise and odour, said the Environment Agency (EA).
The court heard that environment officers visited the company site on 13 April 2012 and found the amount of waste stored to be significantly over the limit. After additional visits, the waste was found to be ten times over this limit. The EA worked with the company to reduce the waste stored, but by July 2012 it had increased to 21 times more than permitted.
After a deadline on 21 August, the company was still in breach of an enforcement notice and their Environmental Permit.
The court acknowledged that improvements have now been made on the site, but found that the breaches were “flagrant, significant and financially motivated”, according to the EA.
Environment manager for the EA, Chris Hazelton, said: “Metropolitan Waste Management chose to ignore its management procedures and environmental permit, and no had inclination to follow any advice and guidance provided by Environment Agency officers.”
He added: “Illegal operations like this can not only damage the environment and blight communities, but can have a serious impact on those local businesses that operate within the rules. In cases like this where individuals consistently operate illegally, we prosecute them as we want to make sure that waste crime doesn’t pay.”