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Walsall company fined £16,000

A Walsall-based company has been fined £16,000 after pleading guilty to four charges relating to breaches of its waste management licence.

Gatetame, trading as Walsall Iron and Steel was also ordered to pay costs of £1,165 after issues arose following an Environment Agency (EA) inspection of its metal recycling facility at Wolverhampton Road, Walsall.

Concerns had initially been raised on 19 December 2005 that End of Life Vehicles (ELVs) were not being de-polluted properly prior to treatment, with a warning subsequently issued.

But in early 2006, the EA found the site to be in a particularly bad state, with numerous oil spillages in areas with no containment infrastructure to prevent pollution of the ground or surface water.

Lead acid batteries, some broken, were also observed in among other wastes, which led to four notices being served, requiring remediation work to be undertaken.

While the company was also required to produce records relating to how much waste they had received and treated on site, a further inspection on 30 January 2006 found it to be virtually unchanged from the earlier visit.

EA officer Iain Storer said: I am satisfied that Walsall Iron and Steel were not de-polluting ELVs properly. De-polluting ELVs requires the controlled removal of oils, fuels and other hazardous components, prior to any baling or crushing.

Instead, oils and batteries were allowed to lie around site and get squashed into the ground. This result sends a clear message to waste management sites in general and ELV sites in particular, that the EA will not hesitate to prosecute operators who flout the conditions of their licenses and pose a risk to the environment.

In mitigation, the court was told that the offences had occurred as a result of poor housekeeping, with the site becoming compliant since the visits in January 2006.


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