Risby recycling firm and company director are fined £40,000 for contravening environmental regulations

Bury Magistrates' Court

Bury Magistrates' Court - Credit: Archant

A west Suffolk recycling business has been fined £30,000 for operating illegally when it began storing wood waste and horse bedding on an adjacent field, posing a fire risk.

Greenways Recycling Ltd, based at Risby, and its director Simon Housden, of Elmswell Road, Great Ashfield, admitted charges of operating a waste facility for the deposit, storage and treatment of waste wood without being authorised by an environmental permit.

As well as the fine for the firm, magistrates in Bury St Edmunds ordered Housden, 48, to pay a fine of £10,000 and each to share the costs of £8,924.

The prosecution was brought by the Environment Agency and the case was heard at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Miriam Tordoff, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, said the company offended for more than two years despite assurances that it would remove excess waste from the field next to its site in Newmarket Road, Risby, and would not take in any more.

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She told magistrates that by March last year three statutory notices had been served on Greenways Recycling to remove the waste, with advice given at a very early stage that the storage was not legitimate.

The waste wood was stored in a way that could be a fire risk at the field, known as Tweed’s Plantation, the court heard.

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Greenways Recycling Ltd and Housden blamed a drop in demand for their product, poor weather conditions and break down in machinery for their actions.

Housden was interviewed by agency officers in June last year when he told them that he thought an exemption would cover the waste on Tweed’s Plantation, but ended up with more tonnes than he expected.

Even after questioning Housden, agency officers discovered that horse bedding that had been left on the unpermitted field contained small pieces of plasterboard, chipped wood, plastics and metal and he was advised that the waste should not be spread due to contamination risks.

A few months later it was evident some of the waste was decomposing and contaminated liquid was leaking onto the field, which posed a fire risk.

After the hearing, John Harrison, Environment Agency team leader, said: “We advised the company a number of times to remove waste from the unpermitted field or to apply for an extension to its permit to cover the area.

“Our advice was ignored and this meant the waste was stored in a way that put the environment at risk. Recyclers taking in waste need to make sure they have sufficient space within their permitted site and that they can comply with their environmental permit due to the inherent risks of pollution.”

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