The director of a recycling company has been sentenced to eight months in jail after a fire at his firm’s wood recycling site caused pollution of a nearby canal.
Arcwood Recycling and director Luke Barker pleaded guilty at Derby Crown Court on 20 February.
On top of the prison sentence, Barker was disqualified from being a director for eight years. Arcwood was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £7,500 in costs, for the offence prosecuted by the Environment Agency (EA).
EA officers recorded concerns of poor or non-existent management systems for the Ilkeston site throughout 2012.
In April, officers said there was too much wood for the site to operate properly as the different piles could not be separated.
The company received a Compliance Assessment Report in July, detailing a breach of permit condition preventing waste being stored for more than three months.
A fire at a nearby wood recycling plant that month prompted concern from fire officers about the size of timber piles at Arcwood Recycling and Barker was advised on safe separation of timber piles.
On 15 September 2012 Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service attended a fire at the site (left), which continued for nine days.
Fire fighting water run-off entered the Erewash Canal and killed thousands of fish, affecting over 6km of canal.
The EA spent a week elevating oxygen levels in the canal to an acceptable level and £200,000 to reduce the impact on the environment.
After the event, mobile phone footage showed that wooden pallets were being burnt on site, said the agency.
A notice was served on the company, requiring the provision of information on a site diary and waste transfer notes. The EA said no response was received.
An EA officer in charge of the investigation said: “We had spoken with the operators on a number of occasions. By not taking our advice, there has been a significant impact on local wildlife, as well as the high costs of responding to the incident.”