Northumberland man sentenced for illegal waste activity

A Northumberland man who made his neighbours’ lives a misery during lockdown by storing and burning waste on an illegal waste site has been sentenced.

Matthew Andrew Leiper, 44, cleared land he owned south of Berwick-Upon-Tweed, before dumping scrap vehicles and waste, and lighting bonfires, with the smell of smoke filling nearby homes between March and July 2020.

Leiper was found guilty on 11 October, following an eight-day trial at Newcastle crown court, of operating a waste site without an environmental permit and burning waste in a way likely to cause pollution to the environmental or harm to human health.

He has now been sentenced to a community order to carry out 260 hours of unpaid work.

The court heard Leiper had been using his land at Unthank Square for the illegal storage of waste and then burning it, causing pollution to the local environment, and impacting on the health and well-being of his neighbours.

Gary Wallace, Environment Agency area environment manager in the North East, said: “Leiper’s offending caused misery for the community, clearly impacting on their health and well-being and causing pollution to the local area.

“Our officers have worked hard to bring this case to court and the investigation demonstrates that we will not tolerate illegal waste activity.”

Evidence from neighbours described how in February 2020, they noticed Leiper’s land, which had previously been full of mature trees and hedgerows, had been cleared.

They saw fires burning most days, and despite keeping windows and doors closed, smoke still filled their homes. They also saw scrap vehicles at the site. One neighbour described a fire in March 2020 which burned for several days.

Neighbours also witnessed commercial vehicles on site depositing waste and saw Facebook posts from Leiper advertising vehicle parts for sale.

In March 2020, Environment Agency officers visited the site and saw scrap vehicles and the remains of a bonfire with mattress springs, metal, and plastic waste. Leiper was told that he was operating an illegal waste site and to stop.

Despite being told to cease activity, in a follow-up visit from Environment Agency officers in June 2020, they saw a pile of smouldering mixed waste measuring 8ft by 15ft, and a separate unlit bonfire containing broken pallets and plastic.

Gary Wallace added: “Leiper has shown a complete disregard for the community and the environment and his appearance at court sends out a message to others that we will take action to tackle waste crime.”

Sentencing Leiper, recorder Richard Herrmann ruled he had acted deliberately in the offence regarding waste fires and accepted the impact on residents had been significant. The court heard evidence about Leiper’s deteriorating mental health, which may have impacted on his decision-making in 2020.

This is valid as of 19th February 2024.

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Water firm ordered to pay £43,000 for traffic management offences

Severn Trent Water has been ordered to pay more than £43,000 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to eight offences relating to the unsafe implementation of traffic management measures across Shropshire, in a prosecution brought by Shropshire Council. The charges relate to work carried out between March and September 2023.

The charges also related to the unauthorised closure of a road in Whittington and leaving in place road works after the completion of works in Market Drayton.

The offences were contrary to either the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 or the Traffic Management Permit Scheme (England) Regulations 2007.

The total penalty for all offences was £35,510, plus costs of £6,002.92, and a victims surcharge of £2,000 – a total of £43,512.92.

In one case, a Shropshire Council inspections officer found that Shropshire Street in Market Drayton had been closed and traffic diverted into a road that was already closed for Shropshire Council works, causing disruption and safety concerns.

On another occasion, an inspector found that work was being carried out on the B4368 near Munslow without any traffic control at all.

Chris Schofield, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for planning and regulatory services, said: “Shropshire Council is responsible for regulating works taking place on our network of roads and any avoidable breaches that disrupt the flow of traffic and safety of the network are taken extremely seriously, as this prosecution shows.

“All of these offences arose from a misuse of the statutory legislation that, if used correctly reduces the impact of such works on the road users, local communities and businesses, thus reducing inconvenience.

“We’re pleased the court agreed that – given the seriousness nature of the offences in respect of the potential harm to the public – the ultimate responsibility rested with Severn Trent Water, despite their suggestion that it was down to issues with their contractors.

“We hope this prosecution serves as a warning to all utilities companies, and reassures road users that we will take action against companies that break the law.”

This is valid as of 19th February 2024.

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Company to pay $4 million and reduce unlawful air pollution from oil and gas wells

[USA] Apache Corporation (Apache) has agreed to pay $4 million in civil penalties and undertake projects expected to cost at least $5.5 million to ensure 422 of its oil and gas well pads in New Mexico and Texas comply with federal and state clean air regulations and offset past illegal emissions.

Apache’s agreement settles a civil suit, filed jointly by the United States, on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED), alleging that Apache failed to comply with federal and state requirements to capture and control air emissions from 23 of its oil and gas production operations in New Mexico and Texas. EPA and NMED identified the alleged violations through field investigations and repeated flyover surveillance conducted in 2019, 2020 and 2022.

Compliance with this robust settlement will result in annual reductions of more than 9,650 tonnes of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and 900 tonnes of methane, which equates to more than 25,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2). VOCs are a key component in the formation of ground-level ozone or smog, which irritates lungs, exacerbates diseases including asthma and can increase susceptibility to respiratory illnesses, such as pneumonia and bronchitis.

The $4 million fine outlined in the settlement will be shared equally by the United States and the State of New Mexico, with New Mexico’s portion going to the state’s general fund. The settlement document (consent decree) was filed together with the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico and requires the company to take numerous steps to ensure that 422 well pads covered by the consent decree and located in New Mexico and Texas are operated lawfully.

In addition to the $4 million fine, Apache will also spend at least $4.5 million to implement extensive design, operation, maintenance, and monitoring improvements, including installing new tank pressure monitoring systems that will provide advance notification of potential emissions and allow for immediate response action by the company. Apache will also spend over $1 million to offset the harm caused by the alleged violations by replacing, on an accelerated schedule, more than 400 pollutant-emitting pneumatic devices with non-emitting devices.

The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for criteria pollutants that are considered harmful to public health and the environment. Ozone is a criteria pollutant that is created when oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and VOCs react in the atmosphere. VOCs and NOx are emitted by oil and gas production facilities, such as those operated by Apache. During the timeframes of Apache’s alleged violations, air quality monitors in the relevant counties in New Mexico registered rising ozone concentrations exceeding 95% of the NAAQS for ozone. In counties where ozone levels reach 95% of the NAAQS, NMED is required by New Mexico state statute to take action to reduce ozone pollution.

The Justice Department’s Environmental Enforcement Division lodged the proposed consent decree in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico. The settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.

This is valid as of 19th February 2024.

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Former security boss pleads guilty to supplying unlicensed security

A former company director, Shaun O’Neill, and his company have been sentenced at Warrington Magistrates’ Court after Mr. O’Neill pleaded guilty to employing unlicensed security operatives. He was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay costs of £423 and a victim surcharge of £400.

I Guard Security entered guilty pleas to three separate offences of employing unlicensed security operatives in Merseyside and Cheshire. The company was fined £3,000 with £424 in costs and a victim surcharge of £1,200, amounting to a total of £4,624.

Jack O’Neill, the nephew of Shaun O’Neill, pleaded guilty to working without a licence, for which he was fined £202, £423 in costs and a victim surcharge of £81.

The Security Industry Authority (SIA) brought the prosecutions following a joint enforcement initiative on 22 October 2022 with Cheshire Police and Cheshire West Council licensing officers at licensed premises in Northwich, Cheshire.

SIA investigators attended at two bars in Northwich and spoke to two door supervisors, one at each venue. Further checks revealed that the licences of the two individuals had expired on 7 and 14 August 2022 respectively.

Examination of the signing-in register at the premises revealed that they had signed in at the venues numerous times from when their licences had expired until the date of the inspection.

The door supervisors were cautioned. On being challenged, each admitted to working as a door supervisor while in possession of an expired licence and that they had been employed by Shaun O’Neill of I Guard Security.

Subsequently, Shaun O’Neill was interviewed by the SIA Criminal Investigation team on 1 June 2023 at a location in Liverpool for the October 2022 offences.

Shaun O’Neill, who was sole director of I Guard Security Ltd at the times of the offences, claimed that the two female operatives were not employees of I Guard Security during the times that they had worked unlicensed.

In early June 2023 further offences relating to Shaun O’Neill and I Guard Security were identified, and these were incorporated into the investigation.

While attending an inspection at a bar in Southport, Merseyside on 16 June 2023, SIA investigators spoke with a male who appeared to be engaged in licensable conduct. He produced an SIA licence in the name S. O’Neill. It was known that this male was not S. O’Neill and when challenged he admitted that he was Jack O’Neill.

Jack O’Neill is not the holder of an SIA licence. He said that his uncle, Shaun O’Neill had given him his SIA licence and asked him to work at the venue.

Examination of the door register at Level 1 revealed that an S. O’Neill had signed in the register an additional eight times going back to 19 May 2023. Examination of CCTV from the venue also provided evidence that Jack O’Neill was working as a door supervisor at these times.

Shaun O’Neill was further interviewed for the June 2023 offences on 21 August 2023.

He stated that Jack O’Neill was his nephew and that Jack had taken his own SIA licence without his permission nor was he aware that Jack O’Neill was working at Level 1.

Jack O’Neill declined the opportunity to be interviewed.

Mark Chapman, one of the SIA’s criminal investigations managers, said: “Shaun O’Neill and I Guard Security have been sentenced having admitted to deploying illegal security into the Cheshire and Merseyside night-time economies. The SIA licensing regime exists to protect the public.

“Mr. O’Neill let down his client and the patrons of the venues on several occasions, showing a pattern of negligence and poor conduct. We are grateful to our enforcement partners Cheshire Police and Cheshire West Council for their assistance in helping us to identify the licence offending.”

This is valid as of 12th February 2024.

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East London waste boss fined for obstructing site checks

The owner of a waste treatment plant in Barking barred environment inspectors from entering the site unless they handed over thousands of pounds in bogus fees.

Gurjit Athwal, director of Keep Green Ltd, is now the one with the bill, having been fined £3,000 with more than double again in costs and other court charges. It’s the result of twice refusing entry to officers from the Environment Agency.

One of the officers called at Keep Green in Atcost Road in February last year. She wanted to check operations were within the conditions of Keep Green’s environmental permit to treat household, commercial and industrial waste and pollution-control measures were in place.

The Environment Agency was concerned about the amount of waste stored at the site on the banks of the Thames since the last visual check six months before.

Barkingside magistrates’ court heard Athwal stopped the female officer from entering the premises in a busy industrial area north of the river. Athwal demanded £500 and insurance documents from the officer before she would let her in.

Environment Agency staff have powers of entry to visit and inspect any location that holds a permit to operate and do not pay sites they regulate. Refusal to let inspections take place is a criminal offence.

Athwal wouldn’t even speak to the official. Instead, she stated her refusal to allow the inspection without payment in a handwritten note. She also wrote down the word “malfeasance,” but didn’t elaborate when challenged by the official if she was making an allegation.

The officer left, having explained to Athwal why she was there, but the 51-year-old wouldn’t listen or look at the officer’s authorisation card, which listed her powers as an Environment Agency member of staff.

Barry Russell, environment manager for the Environment Agency in north and east London, said: “One of the most direct ways the Environment Agency can ensure companies like Keep Green operate without harming the environment is through inspecting waste sites and other commercial operations.

“Athwal intentionally obstructed Environment Agency staff carrying out their work to keep communities safe. Her £3,000 fine will hopefully show her and others that her actions were unacceptable. My officers must be able to inspect permitted sites. Our investigation into how the waste operation is run at Atcost Road continues, although the permit to treat waste there is now held by a third party.”

Athwal later made a number of unsubstantiated claims about the officer in writing, saying she abused her position, adding the Environment Agency official had lied about being denied access to the site. When asked to follow-up the allegations in detail by the Environment Agency, she failed to do so.

The officer went back to Atcost Road with a colleague two months later, in April, but Athwal again denied them entry to her business and demanded money. This time, Athwal made notes and did look at the officers’ cards, but still told them they weren’t coming in, claiming to video them on her mobile phone.

Following the second visit, Athwal invoiced the Environment Agency for £1,500 for “an inspection fee” and what she called “written descriptions.” The Environment Agency doesn’t pay any operator whose site it regulates.

In a letter Athwal sent the officers with the invoice, she blamed the handwritten notes on a speech impairment, but that was the first the inspectors had heard about it.

In July last year, five months after Athwal halted the first inspection and three months after she did it again, the Environment Agency summoned her to an interview. Athwal again demanded hundreds of pounds to attend, and even wanted her travel costs paid. The interview never took place.

The court heard that between 24 February and 18 April 2023, Athwal intentionally obstructed Environment Agency officers in “the exercise or performance of their powers or duties.”

She was charged with breaching regulation 34(2) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016. The law explains how the Environment Agency has “a duty to make appropriate periodic inspections of regulated facilities to ensure that the operator is complying with their permit.”

In addition to the £3,000 fine, magistrates ordered Athwal, of Cavendish Gardens, in Barking, to pay another £3,000 in costs, and a victim surcharge of £1,200. Victim surcharges ensure that offenders hold some responsibility towards the cost of supporting victims and witnesses.

Athwal failed to attend the hearing at Barkingside magistrates’ court and was sentenced in absentia.

This is valid as of 12th February 2024.

The owner of a waste treatment plant in Barking barred environment inspectors from entering the site unless they handed over thousands of pounds in bogus fees.

Gurjit Athwal, director of Keep Green Ltd, is now the one with the bill, having been fined £3,000 with more than double again in costs and other court charges. It’s the result of twice refusing entry to officers from the Environment Agency.

One of the officers called at Keep Green in Atcost Road in February last year. She wanted to check operations were within the conditions of Keep Green’s environmental permit to treat household, commercial and industrial waste and pollution-control measures were in place.

The Environment Agency was concerned about the amount of waste stored at the site on the banks of the Thames since the last visual check six months before.

Barkingside magistrates’ court heard Athwal stopped the female officer from entering the premises in a busy industrial area north of the river. Athwal demanded £500 and insurance documents from the officer before she would let her in.

Environment Agency staff have powers of entry to visit and inspect any location that holds a permit to operate and do not pay sites they regulate. Refusal to let inspections take place is a criminal offence.

Athwal wouldn’t even speak to the official. Instead, she stated her refusal to allow the inspection without payment in a handwritten note. She also wrote down the word “malfeasance,” but didn’t elaborate when challenged by the official if she was making an allegation.

The officer left, having explained to Athwal why she was there, but the 51-year-old wouldn’t listen or look at the officer’s authorisation card, which listed her powers as an Environment Agency member of staff.

Barry Russell, environment manager for the Environment Agency in north and east London, said: “One of the most direct ways the Environment Agency can ensure companies like Keep Green operate without harming the environment is through inspecting waste sites and other commercial operations.

“Athwal intentionally obstructed Environment Agency staff carrying out their work to keep communities safe. Her £3,000 fine will hopefully show her and others that her actions were unacceptable. My officers must be able to inspect permitted sites. Our investigation into how the waste operation is run at Atcost Road continues, although the permit to treat waste there is now held by a third party.”

Athwal later made a number of unsubstantiated claims about the officer in writing, saying she abused her position, adding the Environment Agency official had lied about being denied access to the site. When asked to follow-up the allegations in detail by the Environment Agency, she failed to do so.

The officer went back to Atcost Road with a colleague two months later, in April, but Athwal again denied them entry to her business and demanded money. This time, Athwal made notes and did look at the officers’ cards, but still told them they weren’t coming in, claiming to video them on her mobile phone.

Following the second visit, Athwal invoiced the Environment Agency for £1,500 for “an inspection fee” and what she called “written descriptions.” The Environment Agency doesn’t pay any operator whose site it regulates.

In a letter Athwal sent the officers with the invoice, she blamed the handwritten notes on a speech impairment, but that was the first the inspectors had heard about it.

In July last year, five months after Athwal halted the first inspection and three months after she did it again, the Environment Agency summoned her to an interview. Athwal again demanded hundreds of pounds to attend, and even wanted her travel costs paid. The interview never took place.

The court heard that between 24 February and 18 April 2023, Athwal intentionally obstructed Environment Agency officers in “the exercise or performance of their powers or duties.”

She was charged with breaching regulation 34(2) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016. The law explains how the Environment Agency has “a duty to make appropriate periodic inspections of regulated facilities to ensure that the operator is complying with their permit.”

In addition to the £3,000 fine, magistrates ordered Athwal, of Cavendish Gardens, in Barking, to pay another £3,000 in costs, and a victim surcharge of £1,200. Victim surcharges ensure that offenders hold some responsibility towards the cost of supporting victims and witnesses.

Athwal failed to attend the hearing at Barkingside magistrates’ court and was sentenced in absentia.

This is valid as of 12th February 2024.

Company fined after 21-year-old worker dies

A company in Peterborough has been fined £67,000 after a young employee lost his life.

George Setchfield was found unconscious over the side of a large container while working for Electrostatic Magic Limited at the firm’s site in Peterborough.

The 21-year-old had entered the company’s stripping shed, which housed an Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC) containing alloy wheel stripper. He was later found by his manager slumped over the side of the IBC, and could not be revived.

George had sustained multiple organ failure and chemical pneumonitis and cutaneous burns from exposure to dichloromethane, hydrofluoric acid and methanol.

The HSE’s investigation found that Electrostatic Magic Limited had failed to control exposure to dichloromethane and hydrofluoric acid. It would have been reasonably practicable for the company to:

  • Have installed local exhaust ventilation (LEV).
  • Used a hoist or long-handled tools to lower and lift parts in and out of the tank.
  • Provide pumped chemical systems to prevent the need to lean into the IBC.
  • Ensure that any Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) or Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) provided was suitable for the environment it was being used in.

Electrostatic Magic Limited, of Ivatt Way, Westwood, Peterborough, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 7(1) of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 and Article 67 of the REACH regulation. The company was fined £67,000 and ordered to pay £7,231 in costs.

HSE inspector Tom Pouncey said: “Our thoughts are with the family of Mr Setchfield, a young man, who should have returned home safely to his family at the end of his working day, but because of the failings of Electrostatic Magic Limited, he did not, and his family are understandably heartbroken.”

“Awareness within the alloy wheel stripping industry of the importance of using appropriate control measures and the dangers of this cold stripping process needs to improve.

“Companies need to understand the dangers of working with hazardous chemicals and ensure employees are not unnecessarily exposed. Deaths can result from working with Dichloromethane-based stripping fluids. HSE will be inspecting businesses carrying out similar work to ensure suitable health and safety arrangements are in place. If they are not then HSE will take appropriate action.”

George’s Mum, Amanda Foster, says his passing has affected “every aspect” of her life. She told Peterborough Magistrates’ Court: “Trying to find some level of justice for George has taken over my entire life. I have spent hours going into detail, reviewing, rereading and making notes about how George died and how it should have been prevented.

“This is something that I struggle to accept, how has this been able to happen to my son? George’s death has affected every aspect of my life. It has left me with a constant feeling of emptiness and devastation. It will shadow my future forever and I know that my life will never be as it once was. It has shattered my family’s lives and changed everyone’s life who knew and loved George.”

This prosecution was brought by HSE enforcement lawyer Jon Mack and supported by HSE paralegal officer Rebecca Forman.

This is valid as of 12th February 2024.

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Report claims that businesses could save £24,000 a year by switching to a circular model

A new report has been published which highlights the financial benefits of businesses adopting circular models that minimise waste.

According to the report a “powerful economic argument” can be made in favour of more environmentally friendly business models, that are underpinned by a circular approach to operations.

The research reveals a stark contrast between linear and circular systems, indicating that a linear model can cost businesses up to £34,000 annually (for the average business/office site), with the majority of expenses coming from the disposal of dry mixed recycling.

However, by implementing a circular model and the correct segregation of recyclable materials at source, businesses can experience savings of approximately 70% of waste disposal costs, translating to approximately £24,000 for the average company.

This is valid as of 05th February 2024.

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Fine after elderly woman killed by advertising board

The Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare has been ordered to pay almost £200,000 after a 94-year-old woman died when an advertising board fell on her.

Margaret Carter, of Lydney, Gloucestershire, was walking along the promenade in October 2021 when a large A-frame board, which weighed more than 100 kilograms, was blown over by a strong gust of wind.

Mrs Carter waited three hours for an ambulance and died after eventually being taken by helicopter to Southmead Hospital in Bristol.

In a single hearing at North Somerset Magistrates Court last month, the Grand Pier was also told to comply with health and safety law.

The court heard it was up to the judgement of Grand Pier staff as to whether it was too windy for the large A-boards to be out on the promenade.

At the time of the incident, Grand Pier Ltd, the company which owns and runs the attraction, had not appointed a competent person responsible for health and safety.

The company pleaded guilty to a failure to discharge general health and safety duty to a person other than an employee and contravening a health and safety regulation.

The prosecution was brought by North Somerset Council’s food and commercial safety team.

In sentencing, the company’s defence, which opened by expressing its “sorrow” for Mrs Carter’s death and apologising to the family, argued it only had a “medium culpability” for the incident so should face a lower fine.

District Judge Angela Brereton found that Grand Pier Ltd had a high culpability for the accident and imposed a fine towards the top end of the guidance amount.

The company was fined more than £133,000, and ordered to pay costs of more than £61,000, and a £190 surcharge.

The A-boards have not been used since the accident. They were seized by North Somerset Council and Grand Pier Ltd told the court they did not want them back.

This is valid as of 05th February 2024.

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Recycling company fined over £2m after worker killed

A recycling company has been fined £2.15million after an agency worker was killed by a loading shovel at its site in Hartlepool.

Dean Atkinson lost his life when he was struck and run over by the vehicle at Ward Recycling Limited’s premises on Windermere Road, Longhill Industrial Estate in January 2020.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector Stephen Garner said Mr Atkinson’s death could have been prevented had Ward Recycling implemented an alternative traffic route for pedestrians at its site on Windermere Road.

Mr Atkinson, 32, had been returning from the site’s welfare cabins to his workstation on the picking line. To do so, he needed to walk across a traffic area at the site where mobile plant, including two loading shovels, operated.

One of the loading shovels struck and killed Mr Atkinson when he was walking in the traffic area.

Mr Atkinson’s death prompted investigations from the HSE and Cleveland Police with Ward Recycling later being prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The company was found guilty to committing corporate manslaughter and breaching health and safety regulations after a trial at Middlesbrough Crown Court in December.

The HSE investigation into the incident found Ward Recycling, which went into liquidation in 2021, failed to protect pedestrians from the mobile plant operations it was carrying out at the site. There were no suitable traffic management arrangements in place, meaning pedestrians were at risk of being struck by moving vehicles, including loading shovels. Loading shovels are particularly dangerous if adequate segregation is not in place, in part due to the limitations to the operator’s visibility around the machine – a HSE visibility assessment found that an area over 10 metres in front of the vehicle could be obscured from the driver’s view.

Ward Recycling Limited, formerly of St Peter’s Square, Oxford Street, Manchester, was found guilty of breaching Section 1 of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, and Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £1.75m for corporate manslaughter and £400,000 for breaching health and safety regulations at Middlesbrough Crown Court on 26 January 2024.

HSE inspector Stephen Garner said: “This tragic incident could easily have been avoided if Ward Recycling had implemented simple control measures.

“Following the incident, it took the company less than a week to put in place an alternative traffic route to protect pedestrians. Had this been in place before the incident, Dean Atkinson would not have lost his life. Sadly, pedestrians being struck by vehicles on waste sites has caused many fatal accidents on waste sites and the industry should be well aware of the risks.”

This is valid as of 05th February 2024.

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Workplace fatality results in $110,000 fine for construction company

[Canada] Following a guilty plea in the Provincial Offences Court in London, Matpol Metal Roof Manufacturing Ltd. has been fined $110,000 and ordered to pay a 25% victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act.

It follows an incident in April 2022 that resulted in a worker being fatally injured in a fall while installing metal sheathing on a second-storey roof.

The court heard that Matpol was the constructor on a project installing a metal roof on a single-family home. Matpol subcontracted another roofing company to complete this work.

On 6 April 2022, a worker from the subcontracted company was installing metal sheathing on the second-storey roof of the building, when they fell to the ground and suffered fatal injuries.

A Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development investigation found that while fall protection equipment was available on site for use at the time of the incident, the worker was not wearing fall protection when they fell from the roof.

Matpol Metal Roof Manufacturing Ltd. failed, as a constructor, to ensure that where a worker is exposed to a fall of more than three metres, and it is not practicable to install a guardrail, the worker shall be adequately protected by a method of fall protection, as required by section 26.1(2) of Ontario Regulation 213/91 and contrary to section 23(1)(b) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

This is valid as of 29th January 2024.

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Suspended sentence for illegal dumping on flood plain

A North Yorkshire man has received a suspended prison sentence for the illegal deposit of waste on the River Swale flood plain.

In a case brought by the Environment Agency, Phillip Taylor, 70, of Scornton, near Richmond, appeared at York Magistrates’ Court, where he pleaded guilty to operating an illegal waste activity and an illegal flood risk activity by depositing over 2,400 tonnes of excavation waste within the flood plain.

Taylor was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and was served with a court order to remove the waste to reduce flood risk. He was also ordered to pay costs of £9,500 and a victim surcharge of £115.

The court heard that in 2017 and 2018 excavated waste was transported to land known as the Catterick Complex from nearby housing developments, unbeknown to the house builders. The waste was tipped beside the river to form unauthorised flood defences to protect commercial fishing lakes owned by Taylor.

The downstream village of Catterick flooded in 2012 and has since benefitted from a £6 million Environment Agency (EA) flood alleviation scheme.

The EA regulates works near main rivers, and their flood plains, to ensure that any changes do not increase flood risk to others or damage important riverside habitats.

The illegal dumping of excavation waste at the Catterick Complex could displace or deflect flood water elsewhere, increasing flood risk. Taylor refused to remove the waste when directed by the EA.

Paul Glasby, the Environment Agency’s investigating officer, said: “Due to climate change flooding is becoming more frequent and severe and it’s important that landowners and businesses are aware of the legal restrictions for working in or near main rivers. Before doing so they must first gain authorisation from the EA so we can ensure that changes do not increase flood risk to others or damage the environment.

“Taylor showed a blatant disregard for the law and the community around him. Building unauthorised flood defences or conducting unauthorised works in a flood plain is a serious criminal offence and we are determined to take action to protect flood prone communities and the environment.”

During sentencing, Deputy District Judge Garland said Taylor was given repeated warnings and told him: “It’s clear that there was a deliberate disregard for the rules in the way you went about your business, creating a potential risk.”

The company which transported the waste to the Catterick Complex, Greenford Haulage and Aggregates Ltd, has previously been subject to an Enforcement Undertaking, donating £30,000 to Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust.

This is valid as of 29th January 2024.

A North Yorkshire man has received a suspended prison sentence for the illegal deposit of waste on the River Swale flood plain.

In a case brought by the Environment Agency, Phillip Taylor, 70, of Scornton, near Richmond, appeared at York Magistrates’ Court, where he pleaded guilty to operating an illegal waste activity and an illegal flood risk activity by depositing over 2,400 tonnes of excavation waste within the flood plain.

Taylor was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and was served with a court order to remove the waste to reduce flood risk. He was also ordered to pay costs of £9,500 and a victim surcharge of £115.

The court heard that in 2017 and 2018 excavated waste was transported to land known as the Catterick Complex from nearby housing developments, unbeknown to the house builders. The waste was tipped beside the river to form unauthorised flood defences to protect commercial fishing lakes owned by Taylor.

The downstream village of Catterick flooded in 2012 and has since benefitted from a £6 million Environment Agency (EA) flood alleviation scheme.

The EA regulates works near main rivers, and their flood plains, to ensure that any changes do not increase flood risk to others or damage important riverside habitats.

The illegal dumping of excavation waste at the Catterick Complex could displace or deflect flood water elsewhere, increasing flood risk. Taylor refused to remove the waste when directed by the EA.

Paul Glasby, the Environment Agency’s investigating officer, said: “Due to climate change flooding is becoming more frequent and severe and it’s important that landowners and businesses are aware of the legal restrictions for working in or near main rivers. Before doing so they must first gain authorisation from the EA so we can ensure that changes do not increase flood risk to others or damage the environment.

“Taylor showed a blatant disregard for the law and the community around him. Building unauthorised flood defences or conducting unauthorised works in a flood plain is a serious criminal offence and we are determined to take action to protect flood prone communities and the environment.”

During sentencing, Deputy District Judge Garland said Taylor was given repeated warnings and told him: “It’s clear that there was a deliberate disregard for the rules in the way you went about your business, creating a potential risk.”

The company which transported the waste to the Catterick Complex, Greenford Haulage and Aggregates Ltd, has previously been subject to an Enforcement Undertaking, donating £30,000 to Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust.

This is valid as of 29th January 2024.

Kent waste criminal given 18-month custodial sentence

A man from Faversham was finally caught and arrested after absconding when he was found guilty of running an illegal waste operation in 2019.

James Mete, 61, appeared at Maidstone crown court for his sentencing and has been given an 18-month custodial sentence.

In 2019, the Environment Agency prosecuted Mete along with his daughters, Lucy and Billie Mete. James Mete then absconded before sentencing.

The law finally caught up with Mete and he was arrested following the warrant issued by Maidstone crown court for failing to answer his bail.

Mete will now serve a 14-month prison sentence for allowing waste to be deposited and treated at his site, Thirwell Farm, along with a further four months for breaching the terms of his bail.

Matt Higginson, environment manager for the Environment Agency in Kent, said: “This was a deliberate breach of the law, and we are pleased that all three Metes have now all received custodial sentences for the events at Thirwell Farm.

“James Mete and his daughters all knew their actions amounted to a criminal offence, but still allowed waste to be dumped, kept, and treated at Thirwell Farm for a number of years with no permit from the Environment Agency.

“I am pleased to see courts taking waste crime seriously. Mete is the third man to be given a prison sentence for waste crime in just a few weeks.”

In 2019, the Environment Agency prosecuted James Mete after obtaining evidence that he allowed multiple lorry-loads of soil and builders’ waste, approximately 40,000 tonnes, which equates to 3,200 double decker buses, was dumped and treated on Mete’s land at Thirwell Farm in Drove Lane, Hernhill, between 2014 and 2016. The work needed an environmental permit, which it didn’t have.

Following a number of tip-offs in 2015, the Environment Agency and Kent Police raided Thirwell Farm and found 10-foot piles of waste soils and rubble, as well as machinery for processing it. During this visit, environment officers turned back a lorry that had arrived to tip more waste.

At the time, both the lorry driver and the owner of a building supplies firm gave statements to the Environment Agency saying James Mete was their main contact at Thirwell Farm, despite him saying in interview he didn’t encourage firms to drop waste there.

Following a six-day trial at Maidstone crown court in March 2019, a jury found James Mete, Lucy Mete, and Billy Mete guilty of breaking environmental law as per the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010. All three offenders have now been sentenced.

This is valid as of 29th January 2024.

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