A HUDDERSFIELD skip hire firm and its director have been fined a total of £8,000 for waste offences.
Huddersfield Skip Services Ltd, based at Scotland Yard in Queens Mill Road, Lockwood, was fined £4,000 and its director, 35-year-old Stephen Hillas, of Rosemary Lane, Siddal, Halifax, was also fined £4,000.
Both were also ordered to pay full costs of £3,257 to the Environment Agency which brought the case before Huddersfield Magistrates.
Holly Webb, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, told the court how Environment Agency officers first visited the skip hire business at its Scotland Yard site in March this year for an inspection.
They saw 31 skips of waste stored on an access road next to it, but this access road was not covered by its waste management licence.
Any business that stores or transfers waste needs a waste management licence from the Environment Agency and must operate within its terms.
A week later, officers served Stephen Hillas, the director of Huddersfield Skip Services Ltd, with a notice to remove the skips and waste by April 7.
When officers returned, the skips had gone, but by May 3 six skips filled with waste had returned.
When officers returned again on June 20 they found 20 skips with mixed waste, and on August 4 they found 21 skips on the same access road.
In March the site itself was so full of waste that it was inaccessible with machinery and the site diary suggested that while waste was being brought in, it was not being taken off site.
Hillas was served with a notice to reduce the amount of waste.
In April the site had 1,386 tonnes of inert waste (soil, rubble) – more than twice the amount allowed – and 293 tonnes of non-hazardous waste (general skip waste) which was more than four times the permitted amount.
In interview Hillas said that before Christmas the landfill site they used had closed at short notice and not reopened. He accepted the levels of waste were in excess of what was allowed and said cash flow problems stopped him from disposing of the waste properly.
Lack of space on the site meant they needed to use the access road to store the skips.
Earlier this month waste levels had reduced but were still more than twice those permitted. The access road was clear.
Huddersfield Skip Services and Hillas entered guilty pleas on the basis that no financial advantage was gained by the offences which were committed because of the closure of the landfill site.
Magistrates said the offences were committed deliberately and personally sanctioned by Hillas.
There was a failure to respond to notices and advice and the skips could have been a fire hazard.
In mitigation there had been early guilty pleas, some remedial steps had been taken and there was no long term harm.
Speaking after the case, Tracy Langdale, environment management team leader at the Environment Agency said: “We spent a great deal of effort giving Stephen Hillas and Huddersfield Skip Services repeated advice and guidance to reduce the amount of waste on site.
“We had no option but to take enforcement action when this was ignored.
“Their actions were a direct attempt to save money by avoiding disposal costs. While we appreciate the current economic climate and the difficulties small businesses face, the permit conditions are there to prevent pollution and harm to human health.”