More than 100,000 waste tyres were baled up and stored on a site where they still remain posing a fire risk Lincolnshire-based Boston Magistrates Court was told.
Recycling firm Borough Recycling Specialists admitted four charges relating to the operation at Kirton Holme, Boston and was fined £10,000 on the first offence with no separate penalty on the other three and full costs of £3,200 to be paid to the Environment Agency.
The firm had registered waste exemptions allowing the storage of certain types of waste at the farm, including up to 1,000 tyres but when EA officers visited they found about 100,000 tyres at the site which had been baled and then stored.
Directors of the firm told Investigating officer Graham Cantellow that they thought the baled tyres were no longer classed as waste and were convinced that a document called Tyre Bales in Construction proved that. But Cantellow said that tyre bales remain waste until used in construction.
Cantellow told the firm they would need a waste management licence if they wanted to store more than 1,000 tyres on site but despite warning, the tyres were still on site months later. EA prosecutor Anne-Lise McDonald said: One of the exemptions allowed the treatment of certain types of waste but did not include tyres. Borough Recycling received 945 tonnes of waste tyres and were paid £60 per tonne. The firm had only sent letters to organisations they thought might be interested in taking baled tyres but it was clear they had no definite exit route for them. None of the bales ever left the site.
Melissa Thompson, representing the company, told the court that they had misunderstood the legal position in relation to storing tyres rather than any deliberate attempt to flout the law.