Illegal waste site: Waste mattress textiles should be shipped to Egypt

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Verhaftung (Foto: ©Paul-Georg-Meister /http://www.pixelio.de)

London, UK — On Tuesday 28 March, following a two-day trial, magistrates found company director, Mark Paul Stone, and his company, Salhouse Norwich Ltd, guilty of allowing an illegal waste site to operate from a site it owned. A third defendant, Mark Ian Quinsey, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to running the illegal operation, failing to clear the site when told to by the Environment Agency, and illegally exporting waste. Yesterday he was sentenced to 20 weeks custody which has been suspended for 18 months, and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

Norwich Magistrates’ Court heard that hundreds of tonnes of waste mattresses and mattress textiles were found stored on the site – almost 100 times as many as a registered exemption for the operation allowed. Stone denied knowing that the waste site, on Salhouse Industrial Estate, run by their tenant, Quinsey, was illegal. Quinsey, trading as Salhouse Recyclers, had registered exemptions for an operation far smaller than the one he ran and should have applied for a permit. Nicholas Ostrowski, prosecuting on behalf of the Environment Agency, told the court that he had deliberately breached environmental regulations and despite being served an enforcement notice to clear the site, had failed to do so.

According to Ostrowski, Environment Agency investigators visited the site in August 2015 following a report from a member of the public and found the site so jammed full of badly stored mattresses and mattress textiles, there was a serious risk to the environment. The fire service was also concerned about the risk of fire. It was heard that during investigations Quinsey sent paperwork to the Environment Agency, which included evidence of a shipment of 27 compressed bales of waste to Egypt for recycling in March the previous year. However Quinsey did not have the appropriate approvals in place for this export. The court was told that an enforcement notice served on Quinsey in August was only partly complied with when some waste metals were removed.

Quinsey told investigators he had found a company in Egypt which would take the fabric for recycling but then there was a problem with Egyptian customs so he had to store the material until he found another outlet, which he was unable to find. Quinsey admitted that the site had no environmental management system, no fire suppression system, no fire detection system, no dust suppression system, no litter prevention infrastructure nor sealed drainage system. He also admitted having no insurance for his activities and no official lease on one of the buildings he used. He said the business had left him in debt, claiming that it grew too quickly. He admitted he probably hadn’t done enough research.

The EA also approached Salhouse Norwich Ltd and Stone, who were advised to clear the site and an action plan for the removal of the waste was requested but the waste still remains on site. The magistrates were told the Environment Agency made five requests for a voluntary action plan from the company.

The full story can be read under https://www.gov.uk/government/news/illegal-waste-site-and-exports-uncovered.

Source: Defra