The operator of an illegal waste site in Aldington has been made to pay £11,500 by Canterbury Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to running the site without an Environmental Permit.
The charges were brought against Mr Richard Butler, operator of the site at Woodleas Farm, Goldwell Lane, Aldington, after an Environment Agency investigation that discovered he was running the property as a waste transfer station, storing and processing large skips of waste.
Mr Butler has been operating a waste transfer station intermittently at the site, which lies within close proximity to several residential properties, since June 2011. Environment Agency visits at that time discovered skips full of waste, including batteries, Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), and mixed construction and demolition waste throughout the site.
Environment Officers informed Mr Butler that he was committing an offence by operating the site without the necessary authorisation, and carried out further visits to monitor the removal of the waste to authorised facilities and ensure that waste operations ceased.
Unfortunately, further visits to the site by Environment Officers across 2011 and 2012 revealed fluctuating levels of waste, as Mr Butler would clear waste from the site as suggested but continued to bring further waste back for deposition, sorting and treatment.
In January 2013 Mr Butler admitted to operating his premises as a waste transfer station, and also to burning waste on site during the period of the investigation.
Following the first visit by Environment Officers in June 2011 Mr Butler began trying to obtain the relevant planning permission to operate as a waste transfer station, and this was granted in April 2013. However a permit is still required from the Environment Agency to operate the site, and a meeting with Environment Officers after that date discovered that Mr Butler was still operating the site and treating waste at the property.
Environment Officer Nick Ennis said “Mr Butler was fully aware that he was not permitted to operate as a waste transfer station but continued to operate, ignoring the advice and guidance issued to him by Environment Officers.
“His actions showed blatant disregard for local residents and businesses, and put the environment and local amenity at risk. Waste crime can undermine legitimate businesses, so we work closely with businesses to help them comply with the law.
“In cases like this where individuals consistently operate illegally, we have no hesitation in prosecuting them as we want to make sure that waste crime doesn’t pay.”