Waste company guilty of repeatedly flouting regulations

A transfer station and landfill once classified as the worst two performing sites of their kind in the country, have been found guilty of environmental pollution offences.

Westcombe Waste Ltd has been fined almost £10,000 for repeatedly flouting waste disposal regulations and failing to install anti-pollution equipment at their site near Somerton.

The waste transfer station, adjoining a landfill, receives waste from its associated skip hire company.

To minimise the risk of pollution, such facilities need to ensure waste is deposited and sorted on an impermeable hardstanding with sealed drainage, a silt trap and oil interceptor. This prevents any polluting run-off contaminating the surrounding land.

Waste handling and sorting is also required to be carried out in a building to contain waste materials and prevent any unnecessary noise and dust causing a nuisance to nearby houses.

When the site was inspected in 2008 there was no building, drainage or acceptable hardstanding in place.

There was evidence of run-off from the skip waste area which was soaking into the old landfill and resulting in contamination.

People living in nearby properties were also complaining about the noise coming from the site.

The operator said the infrastructure had not been put in place because he was in dispute with the local planning authority over a condition within the planning permission.

In April 2009 the Environment served a notice on the company requiring it to carry out the necessary engineering works but it the company failed to meet the deadline by over nine months.

The Environment Agency's, Jonathan Tofts said: "This prosecution is the result of many years of non-compliance and protracted disputes through the planning system.

"We've tried to work with the site operator, but after exhausting every other possible option, we were left with no choice but to prosecute."

Westcombe Waste Ltd was fined £5,015 and ordered to pay £4,982 costs by Yeovil magistrates after pleading guilty two offences under the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2007. Alison Brown

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