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Record packaging fine tops £225,000

A record fine of £225,000 has been given to a Telford wine company guilty of packaging offences, the Environment Agency (EA) has said. Western Wines Limited of Telford pleaded guilty to nine charges of packaging offences including not meeting recovery and recycling targets, non-registration with a packaging regulation body and failure to submit certificates of compliance in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

EA counsel Barry Berlin told Telford Magistrates court that in 2005 the EA had written to Western Wine asking them to fill out a packaging regulations questionnaire. The companys reply indicated that it may have committed offences.

Subsequently, the EA invited the company to discuss the matter, but it declined to attend. However, the company did confirm that it was not registered in 2003, 2004 and 2005, it did not meet its recovery and recycling targets, or submit any certificate of compliance with the regulations in those years.

As a result the company had avoided registration fees of £2,486 and recovery/recycling costs of £185,059. Its response also said it had overlooked its legal obligations during the last few years due to rapid changes in the business.

Speaking after the case EA investigation officer David Lloyd said: "The seriousness of this offence is shown by the large fine and is the highest fine for any packaging offence. The aim of these regulations is to make businesses take responsibility for the packaging used in their operations and reduce the amount of packaging waste going to landfill."

EA environment manager David Hudson said: This case highlights that we will not hesitate to take action against those who breach the legislation.

In mitigation, the company cooperated fully with the EA and is now fully compliant.

Other high packaging fines  

 May 10 2004 Pizza Express Ltd  £75,000 
 September 6 2007 Bibendum Wine Ltd  £70,000 
 November 15 2002 SH Pratt and Company (Bananas) Ltd  £53,000 
 April 26 2007 Avalon Packaging Ltd  £50,000 
 November 23 2006 Coe of Ilford Ltd  £48,000 

Information provided by the Environment Agency

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