Following an Environment Agency investigation into asbestos fly-tipping around Essex, Hertfordshire and Kent, 72 large skips of asbestos waste were discovered at a company’s site.
The two waste operators responsible – A1 Bins and Waste Ltd director, John Tuffen, and manager Nigel Lee Hickman – have been ordered to pay £80,397 in compensation and fines.
The men were fined £3,000 each for failing their duty of care to stop the fly-tipping by a sub-contracted driver, who also pleaded guilty to fly-tipping five loads of waste; ordered to pay £13,841 each in compensation to the landowners; and were ordered to pay £30,557 (Tuffen) and £16,518 (Hickman) from the proceeds of their crimes. They have also received suspended prison sentences, enforceable if the fines are not paid on time.
A1 Bins had advertised itself as a specialist asbestos waste transport and disposal company, and it showed invoices and consignment notes supposedly showing that the waste had been taken to, and signed for, at an Oxfordshire landfill site, but the papers were proved to be false.
Environment Agency – “This case should also be a warning to legitimate businesses, to ensure that they fulfil their duty of care when employing a business or person to dispose of their waste.”
After the hearing, an Environment Agency environmental crime team leader Lesley Robertson said: “We take the problems of illegal waste very seriously.
“During this investigation we worked in partnership with other agencies including Stevenage Borough Council, Thurrock Council, Essex Police and other regions within the Environment Agency to gather evidence against those believed to be committing these offences.
“This case was made worse by the hazardous nature of the waste, namely three types of asbestos, which was being illegally stored at the site in Benfleet, further aggravated by the fact that the company the defendants operated claimed to be ‘specialist contractors for the disposal of asbestos waste’, preying on others’ trustworthiness.
“This case should also be a warning to legitimate businesses, to ensure that they fulfil their duty of care when employing a business or person to dispose of their waste, including auditing any paperwork that they should receive for the disposal of the waste – don’t be afraid to ask the necessary questions.”