Case law: Company fined after low price should have alerted it to risk its waste would be disposed of unlawfully

Businesses disposing of waste should consider whether the identity of those they commission to dispose of it, and the price payable, raise doubts that the waste will be disposed of legally. If there are doubts, they should investigate further.

A company in the waste industry commissioned a local man to get rid of its waste from its site. However, from September 2015 to January 2016, 585 tonnes of the company's waste was dumped illegally in a disused factory warehouse.

The Environment Agency argued that the company had breached environmental protection laws by recklessly failing to ensure its waste was transferred and disposed of legally. The paperwork was also incomplete, with no accurate description of the waste or where it had come from.

The magistrates agreed. It particularly noted that the price paid by the waste disposal company to the local man was below market rates, and this should have alerted the company to the possibility that its waste would not have been disposed of properly.

The company was fined £3,335, and ordered to pay compensation of £5,394 and costs of £6,000 (a total of more than £14,700).

Operative date

  • Now

Recommendation

  • All businesses disposing of waste should consider whether the identity of those they commission to dispose of their waste, and the price payable, raise any doubts as to whether the waste will be disposed of legally. If they do have doubts, they should investigate further

Case ref: Thompson Waste, Sunderland Magistrates Court

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