Yesterday, Belle Vue Trucks Limited pleaded guilty at Scunthorpe Magistrates’ Court to one charge of operating a waste facility when there was no environmental permit in force.
The company was fined £5,000, ordered to pay £3,244.75 in prosecution costs, along with a £15 victim surcharge.
The charge was brought by the Environment Agency under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010.
Belle Vue Trucks Limited carried out vehicle dismantling activities on land at Common Farm, North Lincolnshire between May and June 2011.
Prosecuting for the Environment Agency, Kiran Cassini told the Court that on 11 May 2011, an officer from North Lincolnshire Council attended the site following a complaint about noise. At the rear of the site the officer saw 5 or 6 men working in an area where there were disassembled vehicles and other vehicles loaded with metal. There were also tyres and vehicle parts and an accumulation of oil on the ground. The officer spoke with the males who indicated that they were “scrapping vehicles” and that they worked for "Belle Vue".
This information was passed onto Environment Agency officers and on 10 June 2011, officers carried out a raid at the site with police assistance. They observed engine parts on the ground, some of which still contained oil. Oils were also stored in plastic containers and other containers looked as though they were holding vehicle lubricants. The ground was discoloured in places and there were pools of what looked and smelled of engine oil. There were axle units from articulated tractor units, dismantled engine units and a blue wheelie bin filled with a liquid believed to be oil and water. A number of vehicles were in a state of disrepair.
Police checks revealed that most of the vehicles on site were registered to Belle Vue Trucks Limited.
On 19 June 2012, officers attended Common Farm again and the site had been cleared of waste. The ground was still heavily stained. Samples of soil were taken and sent for analysis. The results showed the presence of heavy lubricating oil and diesel or heating oil.
Speaking after the case, an Environment Agency officer in charge of the investigation said,
"This prosecution should act as a strong deterrent to anyone thinking about operating a similar site without the necessary environmental permits in place. Environmental legislation seeks to ensure that wastes are dealt with properly and do not pollute our environment or harm our health. Operating outside the legal system jeopardises both."In mitigation, the Court was told that the company
"took a risk and acted stupidly".They apologised for their actions and were now working with the Environment Agency to obtain an environmental permit for an area of land close to Common Farm where they intended to operate a waste transfer station.