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Director jailed for running huge unlicensed tyre dump

A company director has been jailed for illegally storing 114,000 tyres at a site in Scotland highlighted in a parliamentary debate in 2014.

In June, Scottish MP John Pentland specifically referred to the unlicensed site at Netherton Industrial Estate, Wishaw, North Lanarkshire, when he questioned environment and climate change minister Paul Wheelhouse in Parliament about the safe storage of tyres and other materials.

On 27 February, the former director of Earthmover Tyre Recycling, Paul Cook, was imprisoned for 14 months and the company was fined a total of £195,000 for illegally depositing and keeping controlled waste.

Cook and the company had previously pleaded guilty at Hamilton Sheriff Court to offences under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, by depositing and keeping controlled waste on land without a waste management licence between 15 October 2012 and 11 April 2013.

Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) officers first inspected the site in January 2013 following a complaint from an operator.

The court was told that Cook had deposited and kept a vast quantity of tyres, tyre bales, tyre crumb, plastic containers, liquid and solid waste and other miscellaneous controlled waste.

Tyres were stacked haphazardly, with insufficient fire breaks, and were piled too high and too close together. A licensed site would have needed breaks of at least 15m. In some places tyres were stacked 6m high with gaps between piles of 1m.

Because the site was located 300m from Wishaw General Hospital, next to the main West Coast rail line and near numerous industrial premises and densely populated residential areas, Sepa considered it to be an emergency situation.

A series of meetings followed between NHS Lanarkshire, North Lanarkshire Council, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue, Strathclyde Police and Sepa. The hospital reviewed its evacuation plans and monitored air quality.

Sepa used statutory powers to remove the tyres and chemicals from the site and the cost to the public purse was in excess of £437,000.

Readers' comments (1)

  • unbelievable that the Scottish EA hadn't seen it before it had grown into a potentially large hazard to the hospital, rail system and all the neighbours!

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