In a case brought by the Environment Agency, Robert Clegg, aged 34, of Main Road, Bridgwater, director of Erwin Rhodes Ltd of Axe Road, Colley Island Industrial Estate, Bridgwater, was on Tuesday (30 January) fined £4,622 and ordered to pay costs of £6,351 after he admitted one charge of breaching an environmental permit and one of breaching an enforcement notice.
The charges were brought against the company, but the offences were with the consent or connivance of Clegg.
Taunton magistrates were told that the company was a permitted waste transfer station. Between January 2015 and August 2022 54 of its 61 Compliance Assessment Reports showed breaches to conditions, by taking in more waste than its permit allowed, resulting in a build up of incorrectly stored and unprocessed waste.
An inspection by Environment Agency officers in April 2022 found waste spilling out of a polythene roofed temporary building and uncovered skips filled with mixed household waste. Director, Robert Clegg, was told storing inert waste outside a building breached the company’s permit and he was given two months to remove and dispose of the waste.
When officers returned two months later, the amount of waste appeared to have increased and an enforcement notice was issued ordering its removal within a month, along with which transfer notes were to be provided to show where it had been removed to.
But an inspection a month later showed the notice had not been complied with and the officer found an open skip containing objects wrapped in plastic and marked “biohazard”.
Clegg said he did not know what the waste was, and the officer recorded a number of permit breaches, including not having a technically competent manager on site and failure to inspect biohazard waste to confirm the description.
The following week, Clegg was given a suspension notice closing the site to all business and was told that would be lifted when the enforcement notice was complied with.
A further site inspection three days later, and inspection of paperwork the following day, found that the notice had then been complied with.
During an interview Clegg admitted breaching permit requirements and failing to comply with the enforcement notice, which he said, was due to cash flow problems.
A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said following the case:
The company failed to be mindful of the restrictions placed on it by its environmental permit, which are there for good reason.
Then the company failed to put things right when told to do so. These were flagrant breaches, and the company has now rightly been brought to book.