Waste management company Viridor Resource Management was fined £75,000 and ordered to pay £35,000 costs at Maidstone Crown Court for illegally shipping mixed plastic waste to Dubai.
The case, which was brought by the Environment Agency, related to 396 tonnes of mixed plastics which was shipped in 25 containers from various sites in England and Wales between November 2006 and April 2007. The material was exported by Grosvenor Waste Management, since bought by Viridor.
In sentencing Viridor, Judge Statman said: It is incumbent on us all to protect the environment not just for ourselves but for our children and future generations. I am grateful to the Environment Agency for the presentation of its case and the role it performs in society.
Maidstone Crown Court heard that neither the EA, which is responsible for enforcing waste shipments into and out of England and Wales under the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations, nor its counterpart, the UAE Federal Environment Agency, were notified of the exports - in breach of TFS rules.
The court was told by the EA that UK waste exports to the United Arab Emirates are also subject to the strictest controls of notification and written consent. The EA stated that it was unlikely that the shipments of plastic would have been allowed to go ahead if the UAE FEA had been notified.
EA prosecutions team leader Angus Innes said: The purpose of the laws governing waste shipments is to ensure the authorities in the country receiving the waste can properly treat and recycle it flouting these laws puts both the environment and human health at risk.
Viridor environmental compliance director Tony Nicholson said: Viridor prides itself on maintaining some of the most stringent standards in the UK for compliance and best practice and is fully committed to working closely with the Environment Agency and other regulators to achieve this.