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Illegal waste deposited at mushroom farm

The owners of a haulage company and a mushroom farm have been fined a total of £21,000 in fines and costs for an illegal site operation.

Under the arrangement, Aylesbury Mushroom Farms, owned by Francis Stewart-Wood, illegally deposited 3,000 tonnes of waste which had been delivered to the company’s farm at Bampton in Oxfordshire by SJ Radband Haulage, owned by Stephen Radband.

Oxford Crown Court was told the material came from a Powerday transfer station in London. Powerday pleaded guilty in April 2014 to related offences and is due to be sentenced in September.

The waste was wrongly described by Stewart-Wood as a growing medium for mushrooms in order to avoid higher legitimate disposal fees, the Environment Agency (EA) claimed.

It was later found to be classified as trommel fines and contained various contaminants.

The farmland did not have an environmental permit or the relevant exemption for the waste to be deposited.

The EA was originally alerted to the case in June 2012 after receiving reports of lorries from the haulage company going on to the farm loaded with waste.

Radband, Stewart-Wood and his company admitted the offences. Stewart-Wood and Aylesbury Mushroom Farms were ordered to pay £10,000 and £4,000 respectively in addition to costs of £2,000 each. Radband was fined £1,600 and ordered to pay £2,000 in costs.

Ian Finnegan, EA waste crime enforcement officer, said: “We take a zero tolerance approach to companies who misdescribe their waste and deposit it illegally.

“It puts the public and the environment at risk, as well as costing the taxpayer and honest businesses.”

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