Sunderland-based Thompson Waste is to pay more than £14,700 after it was found to have contributed to the illegal dumping of 585 tonnes of waste.
The Environment Agency said the company showed little regard for the environment when it failed to ensure that the waste it processed was disposed of legally.
It was found to be responsible for a proportion of 585 tonnes of mixed waste that had been dumped in a disused warehouse in Lisburn Terrace, Pallion, which cost the site’s owner more than £100,000 to dispose of.
The prosecution was brought by the Environment Agency after it emerged the company paid a local man to remove waste from its waste transfer facility without fulfilling its legal requirement to check it was being taken to a permitted site.
The company used the man, who has not been named, between September 2015 and January 2016, and paid him below the market rate.
Sunderland Magistrates’ Court found that Thompson Waste had acted recklessly.
The firm, which holds an O-licence authorising up to four vehicles, pleaded guilty to failing to comply with the duty of care legislation at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court on 25 September. It was fined £3,335 and ordered to pay £5,394 in compensation and £6,000 in costs.
Thompson Waste’s solicitor said that the company had cooperated with the investigation and the waste had represented a tiny fraction of its business.
A trial involving other defendants allegedly linked to the offence is set to take place next year.
Rachael Caldwell, an environment officer at the Environment Agency’s Waste and Enforcement Department, said: “All producers and operators have a responsibility to ensure that their waste is disposed of lawfully. Those that don’t are as liable for the detrimental impact it has on the environment and local communities as those that dump it.
“Thompson Waste broke the law over several months, showing little regard for the environment. We hope this case demonstrates the importance of environmental compliance. Anyone who breaks the rules will be pursued, and where repeated or significant breaches are found, we will prosecute.”
Thompson Waste of Sunderland is not to be confused with Thompson Waste Recycling of Scunthorpe.