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Waste boss found guilty for ‘mattress mountain’

Smarden mattress mountain

The operator of a mattress and bed recycling site in Kent has been found guilty for failing to comply with waste exemptions.

Charges were brought against Lewis Bertram, trading as Eco Matters, at Smarden Business Estate, Ashford, after a large dump of mattresses built up on his site.

Bertram, who had been operating the business since July 2013, was convicted of three charges and will be sentenced on 3 February.

Following visits by Environment Agency (EA) officers in December 2014 and January 2015, Bertram was told to comply with the specific conditions and relevant objectives of his permit.

Further visits in March and early April 2015 revealed that activities were being conducted outside the terms of his permit exemptions, and the volume of waste stored on-site continued to increase.

The EA deregistered the site waste exemptions and enforcement notices were issued in March 2015, ordering all waste be removed from one unit and the volume of waste at a second one be reduced to 1,000 tonnes by that June.

No further waste was brought to site by Bertram but waste was not removed.

He denies non-compliance with two notices and these will be referred back to a magistrates court.

The EA worked with Kent Fire and Rescue Service throughout 2015 and 2016 to monitor the fire risk posed by the site and to ensure the situation did not worsen.

Mattresses, divan bed bases and parts remain at on-site and the EA said it will ensure they are removed by those responsible.

Alan Cansdale, EA environment manager, said: “Bertram’s actions showed blatant disregard for local residents and businesses, putting the environment and local amenity at risk. He ignored numerous opportunities given to him by our officers to bring the operations back into compliance.

“Waste exemptions are designed for activities deemed to be of low risk to the environment and have strict conditions that must be complied with.

“While we will work closely with businesses to help them comply with such legislation, in cases where individuals consistently operate illegally and in this case outside the terms of an exemption, we have no hesitation in prosecuting them to make sure that waste crime does not pay.”

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