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Hinkcroft Transport Ltd was found guilty of waste permit breaches at its site which handles a mixture of waste materials including construction, metal and degradable household and commercial waste.

The company accepted waste from the nearby Veolia incinerator when the incinerator was closed for maintenance works.

Hinkcroft resorted to shredding mixed degradable waste to increase handling capacity, which it did not have permission for and resulted in the foul odours.

Residents complained of feeling sick and not being able to open windows because of the smell and their case was supported by Lewisham Deptford MP Joan Ruddock.

The company was found to have breached its permit 59 times in 41 site visits by the Environment Agency between January 2008 and December 2009.

Over a two year period, Hinkcroft exceeded its tonne permit limit for degradable household, commercial and industrial waste by a total of 117,000 tonnes.

Despite interventions by the Environment Agency, the company continued to breach their permit.

Environment Agency officer Jess Lockett said: “Waste companies that persistently breach their permit conditions are putting the environment and human health at risk whilst undermining legitimate businesses.

“Despite our attempts to remedy the problem through warning letters, meetings with the company and enforcement notices, the company demonstrated a blatant disregard for its permit conditions, the environment and the misery caused to local residents.

“This case demonstrates that the Courts will hold companies to account for breaches of their environmental permits, particularly when they have an adverse effect on the lives of the local community.”

Alison Brown

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