A WIDNES recycling company has been fined £20,000 after 'deliberately' flaunting environmental regulations to leave mounds of stinking household waste lying around for weeks, half a mile from homes.
Chester Crown Court heard today, Thursday, how Centrol Recycling Group Ltd ignored numerous warnings and visits from Environment Agency inspectors to continue breaching rules on how to process and store waste.
Recorder of Chester, Elgan Edwards said: “During the period from October 2012 to May 2013, the Environment Agency has been active in trying to ensure the defendant company operated in respect of unsafe waste.
“What has resulted is an inconvenience to members of the public, in the sense there has been a great deal of odour emanating from the premises concerned and a large amount of flies.”
The Recorder praised the company for keeping 17 staff on despite financial losses, but added: “It can't be an excuse that in order to keep employees on the books that a company should deliberately disregard environmental regulations.
“I'm forced to conclude that's what this company has done.”
Kevin Slack, prosecuting, said problems were first noticed during an Environment Agency inspection in October 2012, when they noticed the stink of piles of rubbish in a building at the site on Everite Road.
Regulations mean waste should be processed and removed within 48 hours, the strong smell an indication it had been left for much longer, the court heard.
Inspectors also found municipal waste dumped outside the building, again breaching regulations.
Despite repeated return visits from inspectors, warnings, and enforcement notices, the conditions remained the same for seven months.
The court heard the company has a previous conviction for a similar breache, that happened between June 2012 and August 2012, when 420 tonnes of rubbish was left in the yard.
A fine of £20,000 was imposed at Warrington Magistrates Court, in May 2013.
Defending the 'family business', which has operated since the 1960s, David Bentley said managing director Philip Heaps, who was in court, had tried to 'personally resolve' the issue, and that the site was controlled by various managers.
Mr Bentley said that financial difficulties had lead to the 'collapse of contracts' with contractors charged with removing waste, resulting in delays.
“The company was never motivated by financial gain, by taking in more waste than they were able to process,” he added.