Landfill firms fined more than £72k after litter and bad smells cause misery
Two landfill firms that caused misery for residents with litter and bad smells have been fined more than £72,000.
The two companies, Octagon Green Solutions Ltd and director Kevin John Wanless, and Recyclogical Ltd pleaded guilty to a string of offences relating to litter, accepting too much waste and odour issues.
Issues at the Blaydon Quarry landfill in Gateshead came to light in June 2018 when bosses decided to stay open despite Storm Hector hitting, accepting 53 loads of waste.
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Residents reported litter strewn across hedges, in fields and gardens and inspectors found the site had wrongly positioned netting with large holes in allowing litter to escape.
Waste was also left uncovered at the end of the day.
The site also flouted a ban on accepting anymore waste in December 2018, having already exceeded the maximum amount allowed for the year. Wanless described it as an oversight.
In February 2019 inspectors found bad odours from the landfill could be smelled as far as 1km away.
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The site’s permit was suspended after waste reached a 15-metre high ‘cliff face’.
Appearing before Newcastle Crown Court on Tuesday (March 21) Recyclogical Ltd of Newbold Terrace, Leamington Spa which operated the site from 2017 was ordered to pay more than £70,000 in fines and costs.
Permit holders Octagon Green Solutions Ltd was fined £1,800 and director Kevin John Wanless, 50, of Lead Road, Blaydon, Gateshead ordered to pay £450.
In mitigation they said the site had historically been problematic when run by previous operators.
Recycological acquired a new owner in 2020 and efforts had been made by their new owner to engage with the community.
The court ruled that the defendants’ actions had been negligent and the offences were aggravated by the site’s location close to housing and the lengthy period of time over which the problems persisted.
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Speaking after the sentencing Andrew Turner, Area Environment Manager for the Environment Agency in the North East, said: “Our officers have persisted through difficult hurdles and legal challenges to bring this case to court showing our commitment to taking robust action against those who flout the law.
“I clearly remember the distress suffered by local residents due to the actions of these companies and I’m pleased they have now been sentenced.
“Environmental permits and associated odour and litter management plans are there to protect the community and environment and I hope this case reassures people that we take breaches seriously and those involved can expect enforcement action.”