A composting site operator has been fined after failing to control emissions from a site in Cambridge.
AmeyCespa (East) was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay £13,336 costs after a court heard that,, in July 2014 an employee at a nearby company was suddenly sick at work.
The employee’s firm had had an increase in sickness rates and eventually gave up its lease on the property, at some cost, and relocated.
Cambridge magistrates heard that an Environment Agency (EA) biowaste specialist visited the Ely Road site and served a report, including recommended measures AmeyCespa should take to prevent or minimise odour, two months before the incident.
The report said more emphasis should be placed on preventing the release of odours instead of relying on deodorising misting sprays. The company had also failed to submit an adequate odour management plan to the EA before the July offence, according to the agency.
Magistrates heard that enforcement notices required the company to take actions to comply with its permit. By June 2015 all but one of the actions had been complied with and the final one was completed in December.
The company pleaded guilty to one count of failing to ensure that emissions from its site were free from odours at levels likely to cause annoyance outside the site, and failing to use appropriate measures to prevent or minimise the odour.
Richard Matthews QC, mitigating for the firm, said: “AmeyCespa takes this extremely seriously and is genuinely sorry and regretful.”
In sentencing the company, Sheraton said: “There had been a great deal of adverse effects on human health, quality of life and air quality. I therefore impose a fine at the maximum of my sentencing powers.”
After the hearing EA officer Lucy Bellotti said: “This case shows how permitted waste facilities can significantly impact on the daily lives of people living and working near to them.”