Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Owner of NIPA chemical site fined (with costs) £47,500 for large illegal waste dump

Back at the end of 2012 Oswaldtwistle experienced a storm of flies breeding from illegal waste dumped at the old NIPA chemical site. See old blogs with extensive photos.

As your MP and with the local Labour Council we undertook to do everything possible to solve this problem.

Promises to;
  1. liaise with residents; 
  2. ensure all public bodies turned up to public meetings; 
  3. controlled the fly infestation by chemical treatment; 
  4. work towards the polluters footing the £650,000 clean up bill and not the Council Tax payer (difficult if they chose liquidation); 
  5. to get them to clear the site quickly of 'hard to transfer' contaminated waste that required hundreds of truck loads and a road management plan. 
  6. to ask the EA to ensure that the offenders were prosecuted 
All those promises were kept.

This week the EA notified me of the result of the prosecutions they had pursued (see press statement below)

18 photographs on Flickr
http://www.flickr.com/photos/25495114@N06/sets/72157630856007372/






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From the EA

Graham

It's now a few years ago that we dealt with the illegal waste activities of Arthur Morgan and Blackley Waste Management at Nook, Lane. I’m writing to inform you that the case was finally concluded on Friday with the final sentencing of Mr Morgan – Blackley’s having previously pleaded guilty.

Arthur Morgan was fined £17,500, and ordered to pay a contribution of £30,000 towards the Environment Agency’s costs. In passing judgement Her Honour Judge Lunt said that Arthur Morgan had put making money above protecting the environment and protecting people. The offences had caused real problems for people in the local area who were inundated with flies. The Judge also noted that the defendant, in his mitigation, had sought to mislead the court by saying that he’d contributed £25,000 to charity. The Judge had asked for further enquiries to be made and these had shown that he’d not paid any sum to the charity mentioned.

Please find the Environment Agency’s press release issued Friday.

Steve Molyneux
Environment Manager, Lancashire
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EA Press Release

Following a prosecution brought by the Environment Agency, Arthur Morgan appeared for sentencing at Burnley Crown Court on 3 March 2016. He pleaded guilty to letting 100’s of bales of mixed waste be tipped on a site in Nook Lane, Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire that he controlled through Isle of Man registered companies. He pleaded guilty to allowing contaminated mixed demolition type waste to be tipped on a site at Hi-Craft House, Seaforth, Liverpool. Morgan had promised to buy the land at Seaforth but, after the waste was tipped, backed out of the purchase.

Arthur Morgan was fined £17,500, and ordered to pay a contribution of £30,000 towards the Environment Agency’s costs.

In passing judgement Her Honour Judge Lunt said that Arthur Morgan had put making money above protecting the environment and protecting people. The offences had caused real problems for people in the local area who were inundated with flies. The costs of clear up at the Seaforth site will be considerable and these cost will have to be met by someone if the site is ever to be brought back into use. The Judge also noted that the defendant, in his mitigation, had sought to mislead the court by saying that he’d contributed £25,000 to charity. The Judge had asked for further enquiries to be made and these had shown that he’d not paid one penny to the charity mentioned.

Steve Molyneux, Environment Manager at the Environment Agency, said:

“The people of Oswaldtwistle really suffered the impacts of these offenders, and we are pleased for the community that this serious offence has been successfully prosecuted.

This case shows that the Environment Agency will not hesitate to take tough action against criminals who have no regard for people and the environment. This case should serve as a deterrent to other people who may be thinking about committing such crimes. Waste crime causes environmental damage and undermines legitimate business. It is a blight on local communities, and that was evident in this case.

We would urge anyone affected by an environmental incident in their local area to report it to our 24 hour hotline on 0800 80 70 60 so it can be investigated.”

A thorough and comprehensive criminal investigation started immediately after the Environment Agency became aware of the waste tipping at Nook Lane. When Arthur Morgan first appeared at Accrington Magistrates Court in May 2013, he initially pleaded not guilty to offences. Over the course of the prosecution, was represented by five different firms of solicitors, resulting in many delays to the prosecution. His sentencing was adjourned as the court ordered further investigation into his finances before deciding on the appropriate sentence.

At an earlier hearing on 5 November 2015, Blakeley’s Recycling Limited was fined £15,000, and ordered to pay £15,000 to the Prosecution’s costs for tipping the waste at the site at Nook Lane operated by Arthur Morgan. Stephen Blakeley, who was at the time of the tipping, a director of Blakely’s Recycling Ltd was fined £7,500.

The Oswaldtwistle site, a former chemical factory on Nook Lane, came to the Environment Agency’s attention during the summer of 2012. Hyndburn Council reported suspicious activity on site, and they believed waste was being illegally dumped. At a similar time, the Environment Agency received a large number of complaints from the public to our incident hotline, about flies that were said to have come from the waste.

Environment Agency Officers attended the site and began investigating the cause of the fly infestation and source of the waste. They discovered that over 13,000 tonnes of mixed waste had been baled and stored at the Blakeley’s site in Wigan, then moved to Nook Lane. There was no environmental permit in place for this waste. This meant there were none of the proper controls that would have been in place at any site lawfully accepting such waste.

As a result of the illegally deposited waste, the fly infestation in the local area lasted for several weeks. This caused serious public concern and distress. The waste also posed a fire hazard – on 1 August 2012, one section of the baled waste was set alight. Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service attended the fire and deemed the cause to be deliberate.

Environment Agency Officers attended the site of the offence from the outset and remained in attendance, carefully monitoring the situation to ensure environmental damage was minimised. Officers negotiated to have the site cleared and the waste disposed of legally and correctly. We worked closely with Hyndburn Borough Council at the time, and during the subsequent investigation.

In Seaforth, Liverpool, approximately 5000 tonnes of waste was deposited on land adjacent to railway tracks. There were no permissions in place for this waste, and the materials were found to be detrimental to the environment in several ways, including potential pollution to water and hazards to human health.

ENDS

Notes
Illegal dumping of waste has a range of impacts on the environment:

· Waste can cause potential pollution from leachate, which can pollute groundwater, surface water and contaminate the land.

· It is visually impactful, causing an eyesore, as well as causing bad odours that can affect local communities

· It can be hazardous to human health, which was particularly evident in this case with the infestation of flies. It also attracts rats and other vermin.

· It can present a fire hazard.



Official wording



Statement of Offence

Unauthorised deposits of controlled waste contrary to sections 33 (1)(a) and 33(6) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990

Particulars of Offence

Arthur Morgan between the 23rd day of November 2011 and 13th day of January 2012 did knowingly cause or knowingly permit the deposit of controlled waste on land at Sandy Road, Seaforth, Liverpool when an environmental permit authorising the deposits was not in force.



Statement of Offence

Unauthorised deposits of controlled waste contrary to sections 33 (1)(a) and 33(6) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990



Particulars of Offence

Arthur Morgan between the 13th day of June 2012 and the 14th day of July 2012 did knowingly cause or knowingly permit the deposit of controlled waste on land at Nook Works, Nook Lane, Oswaldtwistle when an environmental permit authorising the deposit was not in force.



Photos are available by calling the Press Office on 0800 9173252.