A demolition contractor company and local criminals have been ordered to pay a total of £121,520 for illegal waste site operations in Nottinghamshire.
Bloom (Plant) Limited was prosecuted for offences relating to the illegal operation of two illegal waste sites and the unsafe storage of asbestos waste “in a manner likely to cause pollution or harm to human health”.
At Nottingham Crown Court the company was fined a total of £21,000 and ordered to pay £25,000. The company was also ordered to pay a further £25,000 following an application made by the Environment Agency (EA) under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), reflecting financial benefit obtained as a consequence of their criminal conduct.
John Kevin Bloom was fined £13,500, ordered to pay £20,000 in costs and £5,000 under POCA. Richard James Morris was fined £4,000, ordered to pay £1,000 in costs and £1,000 POCA. Michael Bowness was fined £2,500, ordered to pay £2,500 in costs and £1,020 POCA.
Police also seized £44,000 as a cash seizure from the home address of John Bloom on the same day as a raid by the EA and police.
All the offenders pleaded guilty to a number of charges brought by the agency.
The court was told that commercial operation of illegal waste sites took place between 2009 and 2011, involving repeated illegal burning of controlled waste, which caused disruption to local residents, posed human health risks and caused pollution to the environment.
Bloom Plant had won a demolition contract at the former Dormer Tools site off Shireoaks Road, Worksop. They used this site as a base for an illegal waste transfer station and for burning waste.
The court was referred to a number of statements of local residents and businesses who had been directly affected by the burning waste.
The company was running another illegal waste transfer station in Gamston. Neither site had an environmental permit for such activity.
Worksop Waste Services, run by Kelly Bloom and whose manager was Richard Jmes Morris, was also part of this illegal commercial operation.
Furthermore, asbestos waste had been inappropriately stored in an exposed skip on both sites.
Additionally, Bloom Plant was crushing aggregate, typically used in construction projects. Crushed material found at the former Dormer Tools site was contaminated, including asbestos, plastic and electric cable.
The defence argued this was not a case involving significant or lasting damage to the environment, nor had any clean-up costs been borne by the public.
HHJ Lea QC, in his sentencing remarks, stated that he considered this a serious case given the complete disregard for environmental legislation.
He said: “This was the wholesale incineration of waste, not simply untreated wood but plastics and other deleterious material that would have caused a considerable nuisance if nothing else.”
Speaking after the case, an EA officer in charge of the investigation said: “This case has taken nearly three years to bring to prosecution, but it shows that we will pursue environmental criminals for as long as it takes.”