Highland recycling firm fined £2000

A Scottish recycling company has been fined £2,000 after admitting to spreading effluent from an MDF manufacturing process on agricultural land in the Highlands.

The black sludge was spread across fields in northern Scotland

The black sludge was spread across fields in northern Scotland

EMAC Recycling Ltd had an exemption permitting it to spread the waste on specific fields for agricultural benefit, it did not have permission to apply it to the field in question.

The concentration of the effluent was also eight times higher than it should have been, meaning the land was unable to absorb the run off and it entered a nearby stream, polluting it and killing fish and invertebrates.

The incident came to light when a member of the public contacted the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) after witnessing dead trout, eels and worms in the stream.

An investigation revealed the source of the pollution was from a strong smelling black sludge material which had been spread on a nearby grassy field.

"There is legislation in place to stop this kind of incident happening," said Martina Osterloh, SEPA's investigating officer.

"EMAC Recycling Ltd should have been aware of the impact of their actions. The Clashmore Burn flows through four gardens in the local community and we only discovered the pollution because these residents were disturbed to find dead fish and eels in the burn."

Colin Bayes, SEPA's director of environmental protection and improvement, added: "We want to help people avoid pollution and advice on how to do that is easily available from our staff, offices and www.sepa.org.uk. The NetRegs website, www.netregs.gov.uk, also offers clear guidance on environmental rules and regulations."

Sam Bond



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