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Illegal waste exporters hit with maximum fines

Two businesses responsible for illegally exporting 259 tonnes of waste to China have been fined the maximum £5,000.

Ten containers from Lincolnshire were stopped at the Port of Felixstowe on a routine inspection and found to have contents not suitable for export to China under international convention.

The containers were loaded at BW Riddle, a vehicle dismantling and metal recycling site in Bourne. Partner Colin Riddle admitted breaching regulations and was fined £5,000, the maximum for the illegal shipment offence, and £4,000 for failing in his duty of care.

Chungs UK, which sources and exports scrap metal and plastic to sell, also pleaded guilty to breaching the regulations and was fined £5,000.

The businesses were also each ordered to pay £6,500 towards costs.

Miriam Tordoff, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, told Grantham magistrates court that, although the loads were not hazardous, samples showed that the mix was not right for automatic export to countries signed up to the convention and could only be exported with a proper description and to a country happy to accept it, knowing what it contained.

On the transfer notes the waste was described as Type A with a waste code indicating ‘aluminium from construction and demolition waste’.

Instead, the containers held a mix of steel car parts, copper wiring, aluminium foil and alloy parts, rubber and plastic hoses, jubilee clips, pieces of car tyre, pieces of upvc window frames, plastic car parts, rubber car belts, circuit board, chipboard and wood fragments, glass, foam, brick and stone.

Environment Agency officer Claire Parker said: “The law is clear – it is always illegal to export waste from the UK for disposal. It can only be exported for recycling but not if it is hazardous as it can harm people and the environment.

“Anyone wishing to export waste must make sure they fully understand the UK legislation and the laws of the country the waste is going to before they arrange the export.  If in doubt they should contact us for advice first.”

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