A lesson in how not to manage trade waste disposal
The owners of a former Fife waste management company have each been given a 150-hour Community Payback Order to undertake unpaid work, or activity, for illegally storing carpets, plasterboard, gypsum and other wastes at their site in the M90 Commerce Park, Lathalmond.
Michael Craig Hope and James Bruce Winters, former directors of First Option Services Ltd pled guilty to keeping approximately 3,500 tonnes of waste carpets and approximately 3,500 tonnes of waste plasterboard in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health. The matter was reported to the Procurator Fiscal by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) following repeated efforts to have wastes removed.
The punishment was handed down at Dunfermline Sheriff Court yesterday (Thursday, 1 June), with the Order imposed to be completed within the next nine months.
Operations on the site ceased in July 2012, and no further processing of waste carpets and plasterboard happened after that date. SEPA officers inspected the site and attempted to get the waste cleared through discussions, letters, final warning letters and enforcement notices. To date these wastes are still on site.
Kate Bayne, SEPA’s investigating officer, said: The First Options Services site is within an industrial estate in a rural location and is clearly visible to passing traffic.
“There are other businesses, including the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum, on the site, users of which drive past the decomposing carpets and plasterboard. Some of these users have complained of odours coming from the site as they pass.
“The wastes, stored outside, are also generating a liquid known as Leachate, which has the potential to cause pollution of the environment.
“SEPA has used enforcement notices to try and ensure compliance, but these have not been complied with, leaving no option but to refer this matter to the procurator fiscal.
“It would appear that the site has now been abandoned, leaving all wastes present.
“By operating without a licence and not removing the waste as required, there is an inevitable effect on the local regulated waste industry. Legitimately operated sites lose out to the illegitimate sites due to cost comparisons being made by waste carriers and producers.
“This will impact negatively on both legitimate waste transfer stations and recycling operations who seek to process the waste, and on landfill sites who would dispose of the waste in a controlled manner.”