The boss of a Kent waste management business prosecuted over the illegal burning of waste wood said he was abroad getting married at the time of the offences.
Green Box Recycling managing director Richard Monks was fined £5,525 with £9,000 costs at Folkestone Magistrates Court after pleading guilty in a personal capacity.
The company’s former driver Andrew Malyan was also fined £3,689 with £3,000 costs, while farm manager Robert Clark was fined £1,205 with £3,000 costs.
Green Box is a licensed waste transfer business based at Ashford Industrial Centre, Cobbs Wood, Ashford.
The Environment Agency (EA) told the court it originally found evidence that controlled waste had been burnt on Marlow Farm near Lenham following a complaint to Maidstone Borough Council in November 2012.
It later discovered that waste wood was being dumped from Green Box vehicles, with the drivers either setting fire to the waste themselves or allowing others to do so.
Monks told MRW he was out of the country getting married at the time and his instructions over the phone had not been carried out correctly.
“The vehicles were being used without my knowing, but I put my hands up because it was my vehicle and wood that I had provided,” he said.
Monks said 11 charges were originally made by the EA but a letter from the firm’s solicitor shows that all charges against the business were withdrawn in April.
The agency said someone else instructed Malyan to deposit the wood waste illegally and that person was now being prosecuted.
EA environment manager Alan Cansdale said: “In cases like this where illegal operations are connected with licensed businesses, we have no hesitation in prosecuting those involved as we want to make sure that waste crime doesn’t pay.”
The prosecutions were made under Section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.