Crediton firm admits it should have checked farmers had necessary permits to accept the waste from building and construction sites
A Devon haulage and site clearance company faces a bill of more than £100,000 for dumping thousands of tonnes of soil and stone on farmland. The case was brought by the Environment Agency.
CC Haulage & Sons Ltd is a family owned and run company based at Manor Farm, Colebrooke, Crediton. The two directors are Colin Clarke and his wife, Deborah Clarke.
Farmers are allowed to accept up to 1,000 tonnes of non-hazardous waste including soil and stone under a permission known as an ‘exemption’ that is commonly used on farms to construct hard-standings, bases for buildings and tracks and doesn’t need an environmental permit.
In November 2016 the Environment Agency visited Beech Down Farm in Tedburn St Mary where waste was being tipped in a valley. Inquiries revealed that CC Haulage had deposited 7,820 tonnes of waste at the farm. Excessive quantities of waste, much of it from building and construction sites, had also been tipped at 3 other Devon farms at Longdown, Exeter, Yeoford and Crediton.
The offences came to light after the Environment Agency examined waste transfer notes that identified CC Haulage as the source of the excessive amounts of waste material. The company benefitted financially by paying the farmers less to accept the waste than it was charging its clients to take the material away.
The firm’s defence said CC Haulage believed the farmers had the necessary permits to accept the waste, but admitted the company should have checked.
Richard Cloke of the Environment Agency said:
Haulage businesses must ensure they comply with the limits and conditions of environmental permits and exemptions.
These are in place to stop the illegal deposit of waste, protect the environment and create a level playing field for the waste industry.
Appearing at Exeter Crown Court, CC Haulage & Sons Ltd was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay £5,000 costs. Judge Geoffrey Mercer also imposed a £90,000 Proceeds of Crime confiscation order at the sentencing hearing on 15 January 2018. The company must pay back this figure from the profits it made from its criminal activities.
Judge Mercer said: “It is not entirely clear to me how the company were unclear about the limits.”