Hitchin haulage company fined more than £500,000 for illegal Royston waste storage

PUBLISHED: 11:18 17 January 2019

Waste stored near the Royston Sewage Treatment Works by Winters Haulage; Picture: Environment Agency

Waste stored near the Royston Sewage Treatment Works by Winters Haulage; Picture: Environment Agency

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A Hitchin-based haulage company have been fined more than £500,000 for illegally storing thousands of tonnes of waste in Royston.

Waste stored near the Royston Sewage Treatment Works by Winters Haulage; Picture: Environment AgencyWaste stored near the Royston Sewage Treatment Works by Winters Haulage; Picture: Environment Agency

Winters Haulage Limited was fined £510,000 at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court on Monday for using a site next to Royston Sewage Treatment Works to store baled combustible waste, which posed a significant fire risk, between September 2014 and December 2015.

Company director Liam Patrick Winters was also ordered to pay costs of £8,850 and carry out 180 hours of unpaid work as part of a 12-month community order.

Winters Haulage, now in liquidation, had an environmental permit for its Hitchin site in Hunting Gate, but operated the Royston site without one.

After being told by the Environment Agency to clear the site, some of the waste was taken to a landfill site in Hitchin, while some was moved illegally to another site in Kings Ride, near Therfield.

Waste stored near the Royston Sewage Treatment Works by Winters Haulage; Picture: Environment AgencyWaste stored near the Royston Sewage Treatment Works by Winters Haulage; Picture: Environment Agency

An investigation found that waste had also been buried near the sewage treatment works, and the company moved waste without the required transfer notes. The Cambridge Fire and Rescue Service assessed the risk of fire and created an emergency plan after it found that the site was within 2.5km of 11 public organisations – schools, nurseries, sheltered accommodation, children’s homes, care and residential homes – all of which could have been at risk.

The court heard that the site had not been remediated and it was estimated to cost the landowner, Anglian Water Group, £1.9 million to clean it up.

Baled combustible waste is also known as ‘refuse derived fuel’ and is often used as a fuel.

It can contain plastics and cloth often wrapped in a plastic that degrades during periods of storage, potentially leaking polluting liquid into the environment.

After the hearing, Environment Agency team leader Phil Henderson said: “Illegally stockpiling thousands of tonnes of waste in this manner has potentially devastating impacts on the environment, communities and transport infrastructure.

“This case highlights the growing problems being faced with waste across the country and the result in court should reassure the public that the Environment Agency is committed to bringing waste criminals to justice.”

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