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Firms handed hefty fines for dumping waste

PUBLISHED: 14:46 15 October 2008 | UPDATED: 10:10 23 August 2010

SPECIALIST officers are targeting construction waste criminals following a series of successful prosecutions. The Environment Agency has taken five separate companies in Dartford, Gravesend and Bexley to court in the last two months. Cases include those

SPECIALIST officers are targeting construction waste criminals following a series of successful prosecutions.

The Environment Agency has taken five separate companies in Dartford, Gravesend and Bexley to court in the last two months.

Cases include those where waste has been illegally consigned, treated or disposed of by developers, ground workers, hauliers and operators.

All five who have been found to be in breach of their regulations have been ordered to pay a combined total of £12,200 in fines and over £3,500 in costs.

Paul Bennett told the Times that he was shocked by the extent of cases they had uncovered, claiming more prosecutions were in the pipeline.

He said: "I am very pleased with the success of the project, which has involved in-depth cradle to grave waste audits.

"We unearthed a surprising amount of illegal activity. Waste, some of it hazardous, was being illegally recovered and disposed of at a variety of sites in Kent. The source of the material was predominantly construction sites in the south east." Staff from the Thames, Kent and East Sussex and the Anglian regions have worked together to tackle waste travel across regional boundaries.

Audits have taken place to assess the compliance of companies with the way they handle their waste, and more are planned in the near future.

Companies that breech the regulations risk being fined and could also lose their environmental permits or the carrier's registration.

Mr Bennett added: "One of the major problems we experienced was the lack of documentation that companies were keeping about the waste, who had carried it and where it had gone.

"We had great difficulty in carrying out full audits of the waste streams as a number of companies had not kept or filled out correctly their Duty of Care notes. Our decisions to prosecute companies for Duty of Care offences led us to check and record over 150,000 tickets.

"Since we began this work, we have seen a big improvement in the way the industry handles its waste. Sites that take waste for either recovery or disposal have reported an improvement in the documentation and the quality of waste they are being asked to take."

To find out more visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk or call 08708 506506.

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