A businessman who abandoned a waste site which required remediation costing nearly half a million pounds has been given a suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay £10,000 to the landowner.
Mark Smyth, from Pershore, Worcestershire, the sole director of Arrow Gypsum Recycling, admitted breaching environmental permit conditions and was found guilty of failing to comply with an enforcement notice served by the Environment Agency (EA).
Worcester Crown Court was told that, in early 2015, the agency received a report that gypsum waste was being stored outside a building Smyth rented at Crucible Business Park in Norton, Worcester. Smyth’s permit stipulated that the material be stored within the building.
The EA then established that Smyth had abandoned the site, leaving 29 tonnes of gypsum plasterboard outside and more than 5,000 tonnes inside. A formal enforcement notice was served requiring Smyth to clear the waste, but he ignored it.
During the trial, the defendant claimed not to have received the enforcement notice but this was rejected.
EA officers and an agent of the landowner cleared the site at a cost of £450,000, which the judge said was an aggravating feature of the case.
The court heard that Smyth had intended to operate in line with the permit when he took over the business in 2013 but, when the waste processing stopped, he still had contracts to honour, so he carried on accepting waste.
On 16 August, Smyth was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to undertake 200 hours of unpaid work. He was also told to pay £10,000 compensation to the landowner and disqualified from acting as a company director for seven years.
The judge said he was suspending the sentence because of the potential impact on Smyth’s 12-year-old daughter and her mother, and because of his previous good character.