An electronics recycler has threatened legal action against the Environment Agency following the suspension of its approved exporter permit earlier this year.
Richard Tang, director of West Yorkshire WEEE firm Sunersol, accused the agency of failing to respond to requests to lift the suspension and endangering more than 50 jobs.
In the letter sent by Tang following a meeting with EA on 5 July – the third audit since the company’s permit was suspended in March – Tang said the company was “extremely frustrated at the lack of response, non-reply to emails and general delay from the Environment Agency in responding to our request for the removal of the Approved Exporter suspension and information on the TFS [transfronier shipment] suspension”.
EA suspended Sunersol’s permit to issue evidence notes for exported WEEE after it said its officers had found non-approved waste in shipping containers.
An EA spokeswoman said in May: “Environment Agency’s officers recently stopped and inspected 16 containers that were being exported under an approved permit.
“Upon inspection, our officers decided that the waste was not as described because it contained waste that was not included on the permit and some of the waste included was hazardous. Therefore, we withdrew our approval to the permit. We are continuing with our investigation.”
Tang said in the letter the continuing suspension was affecting the firm’s contract renewal and stigmatising the business.
He also criticises EA’s “inconsistent policing of UK AATF’s [approved authorised treatment facilities]”.
The letter concludes: “If we do not receive a reply by Friday the 10th of August 2012 Sunersol will instruct the companies [sic] lawyers to start proceedings against the Environment Agency for not providing further information on the suspension of permits along with the inconsistent policing of UK AATF’s which we feel Sunersol has been targeted by the agency given it has all the relevant permits along with a regionally stronger WEEE policing team at the agency than other areas of the UK, this further demonstrates the inconsistent approach to permitting of WEEE AATF’s, we state again we are aware as the agency is of the export from other AATF’s/AE’s of non-homogenous WEEE material under Annex green list that no action has been taken, Sunersol has evidence which it will bring to the attention of the companies lawyers to challenge the inconsistent approach made by the Environment Agency should it deem this necessary to protect the commercial interests and treatment of WEEE by Sunersol.”
An EA spokesperson said: “Sonersol broke the TFS regs designed to protect communties and the environment overseas. We are now working with the company to ensure any future exports are compliant.”
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