A Bradford-based storage company was fined £4,000 yesterday (Wednesday 26 June) after it moved hazardous storage tanks at its site against the requirements of a statutory notice issued by the Environment Agency.
Denholme Storage (Bradford) Ltd was ordered to pay £1,650 in costs to the Environment Agency, which brought the case at Bradford Magistrates Court. The company was also ordered to pay a £400 victim surcharge.
Nigel Augustin, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, told the court how an environment officer visited Denholme Storage’s premises at the old Whitaker & Co building on Halifax Road in July 2012, whilst investigating a separate pollution incident nearby.
The officer discovered storage tanks inside the building that contained a permethrin-based wood preservative, which is highly toxic to aquatic life and has the potential to cause serious environmental pollution. The officer issued a notice prohibiting the movement of the tanks because they feared that any movement could cause major pollution to Carperley Beck, near the site.
Mr Augustin told the court that the director of the company later asked to be able to move the tanks but permission was not granted by the Environment Agency.
On 5 December 2012 the environment officer saw a large skip outside the Denholme Storage site. On investigating further he saw metals in a skip and saw that some of the tanks subject to the prohibition notice had been moved.
In interview by correspondence, the company said it understood the notice and at all times had tried to comply with it. They said that any contravention was not deliberate.
Mr Augustin told the court that this was a breach of a lawful prohibition notice, which undermined the regulatory process, with the potential to cause serious pollution.
In passing sentence the chair of the bench said: “The company knew what was required and it was not accepted that the offence was the result of a misunderstanding.”
Speaking after the case, environment officer Robert Atkin at the Environment Agency said: “We served the company with a notice to prevent any escape of pollutant into the environment and to ensure it was disposed of safely. Despite this, the company breached the notice by moving the tanks without adequate controls in place, putting the local environment at serious risk of pollution.
“We always work with companies to help improve their environmental performance and reduce their impact on the environment. We are always available to provide free advice regarding pollution prevention and environmental responsibilities.”