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Waste offender slams environmental justice

The boss of a firm twice charged with waste offences in the last year has hit out the Environment Agency's (EA) policing methods.

G H Newbery & Son was last year found guilty of dumping waste including asbestos in Dartmoor National Park and fined £12,000.

More recently, its subsidiary firm Gorman Metals was fined £1,000 with £576 costs for baling up to 100 cars per day at an unlicensed site (see MRW story).

However, GH Newberry managing director Russell Toghill blamed the Gorman Metals offence on an inefficient EA.

He said: "We were devastated by this charge. Gorman Metals was hired by White Horse Car Breakers to clear its yard in Bodmin. We had dealt with White Horse for 30 years and all of their other sites were licensed. What puzzles me is that the local EA depot is only three miles from that site, which has been operating for 10 years right under the EA's nose. Not for a million years would I have thought that that site wouldn't have been licensed."

Toghill said he couldn't understand why, despite being an unaware external contractor, Gorman Metals was fined the same amount as the White Horse Car Breakers, the owners of the unlicensed site.

Toghill also accused the EA of inconsistency and constantly "moving the goalposts". He said that when his company had previously employed an external contractor, he was again left to pay the fine for materials the contractor dumped on Dartmoor.

He added: "I got fined while the contractor, who contaminated and dumped the rubble and hardcore, wasn't even interviewed by the EA."
Environment Minister Elliot Morley has acknowledged problems with the current prosecution process and proposed measures for change.

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