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Illegal dumping fines less than landfill bill

essex flood defence case

Three defendants have been ordered to pay a total of £20,000 in fines and costs for illegally depositing waste – but the figure is less than it would have cost them if the material had gone to landfill.

Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court was told that that 3,920 tonnes of inert waste was dumped on land at Little Hayes Farm, Stow Maries, Essex, for flood defences.

But the work was carried out without consent or permission from Natural England within an environmentally sensitive area. Nor did the site comply with an exemption which allowed only 1,000 tonnes of soil and stones to be used for construction purposes.

Tenant farmer Simon Hollington pleaded guilty to knowingly causing the illegal deposit while TJ Cottis Transport and Jedd Cottis (director) both admitted depositing the waste without an environmental permit and failing to comply with duty of care requirements.

They were ordered to pay a total of £19,430 in fines and costs (full list below).

Miriam Tordoff, prosecuting for the Environment Agency (EA), told the court the material was construction and demolition waste from development sites and TJ Cottis Transport’s own permitted treatment facility.

It was mainly soil and stones but also included concrete, brick, plastic, glass, wood and plasterboard. It was not suitable for flood defences.

Nearly four times the exemption limit of 1,000 tonnes was deposited on the land between April and May 2015 before the activity was stopped by Natural England and the EA.

TJ Cottis paid Hollington £4,800 to deposit the waste on the tenant’s land, admitting it saved £24,000 in landfill charges. Hollington has applied for an environmental permit to remove the waste later this year.

  • Hollington: fined £1,833 plus £4,059 (a share of the full costs) and £120 victim surcharge.
  • Cottis: fined £530 for each of two offences, plus £4,059 (a share of the full costs) and £120 victim surcharge.
  • TJ Cottis Transport: fined £2,000 for each of two offences, plus £4,059 (a share of the full costs) and £120 victim surcharge.

Readers' comments (2)

  • The fine and costs are less than the landfill bill but the total cost will be much greater as the retrospective permit application will be costly and the defendants will have met their own legal costs. That is without the added cost of a POCA hearing. The headline doesn't represent the full picture.

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  • Point taken but what happened to the changes in sentencing whereby stiffer punishment could be meted out at the time, rather than stringing it out with POCA?<br/>Coincidentally, the latest Interpol crackdown report includes the following; "Waste crime is seen as a low-risk, high-reward crime for organised criminal networks" See: https://www.mrw.co.uk/10022344.article

  • I agree. POCA drags things out for months or even years and doesn't do much to get sites cleared. Problems with U1s are common and we regularly review sites to submit retrospective permit applications. Interpol do have a point as the RDF crooks are too active.

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