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Fines and prison terms in wood waste cases

A recycling company director has been sentenced to four months in jail, suspended for a year, and must pay costs and a surcharge of more than £4,000.

Jonathan Hughes, who was the sole director of Transform Recycling, abandoned wood waste at two sites, leaving Natural Resources Wales (NRW) with a £322,000 bill for its removal.

Hughes must also undertake 150 hours of unpaid work.

Trading ceased at his Llandow and Gwaelod y Garth sites in December 2015 after which he treated only wood waste at his third permitted site in Rhymney.

But NRW said thousands of tonnes of wood were left at the other two sites, while Hughes continued to bring wood on to the Rhymney site.

In 2016, Transform Recycling went into liquidation and abandoned all three sites, leaving wood waste behind to create a fire risk.

The landlord of the Rhymney site cleared the wood at his own expense, but NRW had to deal with the remainder (pictured).

NRW’s industry and waste regulation team leader Catriona Harvey said: “We hope the outcome of this case will send out a positive message to those in the waste industry that NRW will not tolerate those who seek to profit by breaking the law, harming local communities or damaging the environment.”

Meanwhille, two brothers have been ordered to pay more than £30,000 in fines and costs after storing wood waste without Environment Agency (EA) authorisation.

Christopher Black, known as Sam, and Bob Black stored the wood at Padworth Saw Mill, Aldermaston, between 2015 and 2018.

Reading magistrates court ordered the pair to meet the EA’s costs of £13,942.99 each and pay fines and victim surcharges of £1,353 each. They must also clear the site within a year.

The EA said they stored 16,800cu m of waste wood without an environmental permit; although the Blacks had not originally put the waste there, they were responsible for it as landowners.

EA environment officer Tom Harris said: “I visited the site on numerous occasions, but the defendants continued to ignore our advice on how to comply with their exemptions and run a site within the rules.

“The large volume of waste wood on-site posed a serious fire risk that would have a significant impact on the local community.”



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