A composting company from Essex and its managing director have been fined £3,000 and £2,000 respectively after burning waste and failing to comply with the terms of its environmental permit.
They were ordered to pay costs of £7,181.50 and a Government victim surcharge of £30.00.
Michael Lunnon, 35, of Edney Wood, Nathans Lane, Writtle, Essex pleaded guilty at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on his own behalf and on behalf of his company to burning controlled waste on a non permitted area of land, as well as causing the production and escape of odours from the permitted composting site on the same land.
The company, Heatherland Limited, was authorised for keeping and treating of shredded green waste, operating as a composting site. This activity was situated on the front part of the land in Stondon Hall Farm, Essex; the remainder of the land is not permitted for any waste operation and where the burning took place.
The court heard that on 21 August 2010 a local resident witnessed the company’s lorry drive past his house and followed it with his camera, taking pictures of the contents of the lorry on the floor next to a large bonfire. Environment Agency officers visited the farm and found evidence to show that unauthorised burning of waste was taking place.
Mr. Lunnon also pleaded guilty on his own behalf and on behalf of the company to causing a breach of the environmental permit regarding the production and release of odours. Between 15 and 20 February 2011 a number of people reported odours coming from the site. Environment Agency officers attended the site on several occasions throughout that period and found the permit condition had been violated. The smell had travelled and was strongly evident within the local neighbourhood and was affecting some residents within their homes. It was acknowledged the smell was due to the pile of waste arriving at the site after being in situ for three months longer than normal.
Shahnaz Isaac, Investigating Officer at the Environment Agency, said: “The operations carried out by Michael Lunnon and Heatherland Limited were unacceptable and clearly breached correct procedures. Not only was the burning of waste and poor odour emissions detrimental to the local environment, it caused distress to the local community.
“We’re pleased with the outcome of the court today and hope it influences other operators to be more aware of the impact they have on their surroundings. Our teams will continue to monitor waste sites and work with them to assure they operate within the terms of the environmental permit.”