A Yorkshireman has been handed a 26-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, for illegally dumping waste on disused land in Wakefield.
Samuel Joseph Stringer Hunter of Boothroyd Lane, Dewsbury, was sentenced by Kirklees Magistrates’ Court on 27 January following an Environment Agency (EA) investigation.
Hunter had denied two environmental offences but was found guilty after a trial.
Lorna Matchett, prosecuting for the EA, told the court that investigating officers discovered the illegal activities in July 2014.
Hunter had been storing waste on land near Bridge Road, near the River Calder behind the Horbury Bridge Industrial Estate, although no environmental permits were in place for the operation.
There were several piles of mixed waste containing treated and untreated wood and plastics, and skips belonging to the Hunter Group or Huddersfield Skip Services, both of which Hunter was involved with at the time.
The defendant claimed the waste activities were allowed because they were covered by waste permitting exemptions, but the EA said waste was being stored in breach of the exemptions.
Hunter was told to clear the waste but inspections between October 2014 and January 2015 revealed that much of it remained.
There were also signs that waste had been deposited into the ground, which was contaminated with plastic, glass, a trainer and mixed construction and demolition waste.
The court heard that, through running the site illegally, Hunter avoided £4,120 in permitting fees and £5,148 by not installing the correct surfacing to prevent pollution to the ground.
It is estimated that he received between £6,400 and £18,720 for the waste brought to the site.
In sentencing, chair of the bench said: “These offences were so serious that custody was the only option.”
A spokesperson for the EA said after the hearing: “Hunter’s activities on this site posed a pollution risk and a fire risk that could have affected the nearby railway line. Hunter also undercut legitimate businesses by avoiding mandatory permitting and infrastructure costs. We hope this case demonstrates the importance of environmental compliance. Anyone who breaks the rules will be pursued.”
Hunter told the court in mitigation that he had cleaned up the waste in the shortest possible time.
In addition to the suspended jail term, he was ordered to undertake a rehabilitation activity of 15 days under supervision and to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work within the next 12 months. He must also pay legal costs of £4,640 and a victim surcharge of £150.
The charges are:
Between 1 July 2014 and 7 February 2015, Hunter operated a regulated facility, namely a storage, sorting and transfer operation on land in the yard off Bridge Road other than in accordance with an environmental permit. Contrary to Regulations 12(1)(a) and 38(1)(a) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 and Section 2 of the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999.
Between 1 July 2014 and 7 February 2015, Hunter kept controlled waste on land in the yard off Bridge Road in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health. Contrary to Sections 33(1)(c) and 33(6) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
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