Boss is fined for breaking waste exporting rules

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Boss of BW Riddle is fined for breaking waste exporting rules

THE boss of a metal recycling yard has been ordered to pay more than £15,000 after waste was sent to be exported to China illegally.

Ten containers, which were loaded at BW Riddle in South Fen Road, Bourne, were stopped at Felixstowe port during a routine inspection in May last year.

The containers were found to have contents not suitable for export to China, under an international convention designed to protect human health and the environment.

Miriam Tordoff, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, told Grantham Magistrates Court on Wednesday that although the loads were not hazardous, samples showed the mixed waste was not right for automatic export to countries signed up to the convention, which include the UK and China.

The waste could be exported only with a proper description and to a country happy to accept it, knowing what it contained.

China had not agreed to accept the waste from Bourne and the lack of proper description meant there was no prior agreement to show that it would be managed in an environmentally sound way.

The waste had been described as type A – aluminium from construction and demolition waste. Instead, the containers held a mix including steel car parts, copper wiring, aluminium foil and alloy parts, rubber and plastic hoses and pieces of car tyre.

Permission for export would also have been needed from the Environment Agency.

Colin Riddle, a partner of BW Riddle, admitted breaching the regulations and also failing to fill in paperwork correctly.

He was fined £5,000, the maximum for the illegal shipment offence, and £4,000 for failing in his duty of care.

He was also ordered to pay £6,500 costs.

The company which actually exported the waste, Derby-based Chungs UK Ltd, was also prosecuted.

It pleaded guilty to breaching the regulations and was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £6,500 costs.

The court was told the companies exported 259 tons of mixed waste in total to China.

Colin Riddle set up BW Riddle with his late father in 1973 and has worked in the recycling industry for nearly 40 years. He has no previous environmental convictions. 

In a statement to the Mercury after the hearing, BW Riddle said it had co-operated fully with the Environment Agency throughout the investigation.

It said it had sold the mixed waste comprising mainly metal (in excess of 50 per cent), plastics and rubber to Chungs UK Ltd which then arranged for it to be exported to China for recycling.

The waste was the result of a multi-stage process involving shredding of materials, magnetic separation, size separation, density separation and eddy current separation.  It is also hand picked to remove shredded tyres.

BW Riddle said it would ensure there were no further exports of such waste in contravention of the regulations.

It stopped the sale of the non- hazardous mixed waste to Chungs UK immediately on being notified by the Environment Agency that the containers had been stopped.

The statement said Colin Riddle breached the regulations unintentionally and had introduced measures to ensure future compliance.

He said he was surprised and disappointed to be told he was in breach of the regulations and accepted the penalty imposed. He acknowledged that had the magistrates decided to refer the case to the crown court, where the maximum penalty is unlimited, the fine could have been higher.

After the hearing, Environment Agency officer Claire Parker said: “Preventing the illegal export of waste is a top priority for the Agency and we will take action where we find evidence of illegal waste movement.

“The law is clear – it is always illegal to export waste from the UK for disposal. It can only be exported for recycling but not if it is hazardous as it can harm people and the environment.

“Anyone wishing to export waste must make sure they fully understand the UK legislation and the laws of the country the waste is going to.”