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MidUK Recycling sentenced for fire at illegal waste site

Lincolnshire County Council and the Environment Agency have successfully prosecuted MidUK Recycling Ltd for operating illegal waste storage at a recycling facility at Barkston Heath, Ancaster.

As a direct result of the illegal storage of waste a serious fire occurred at the site in July 2015 which required closure of nearby roads for several days and warnings to local residents to keep windows and doors closed.

The cause of the fire was spontaneous combustion due to the long period of storage, the quantity and the nature of the wastes.

Coun Eddy Poll, executive member for commercial and environmental management for Lincolnshire County Council, said: "This case clearly demonstrates the consequences of handling waste materials in disregard of planning conditions and environmental controls.

"This incident had a serious impact, not only on the environment, but also on the community.

"The residents of Lincolnshire should not have to pay for emergency services attending the consequences of waste crime and I am pleased that we have fully recovered all these costs."

At Lincoln Crown Court on July 24 last year, MidUK Recycling, landowner MC Mountain and Son, and a director Mowbray Christopher Mountain, pleaded guilty to a total of five charges for breaching planning and environmental legislation.

They were sentenced on June 7 at Lincoln Crown Court and fined a total of £100,000, ordered to pay the council’s and the Environment Agency costs of £50,000, and also pay the council’s Fire and Rescue Service costs of £230,000.

In April 2014 MidUk were found to be flouting planning controls and storing thousands of tonnes of waste at various locations around the site and in places to more than 10 metres high.

There was also a stockpile of several hundred tonnes of unbaled carpets piled up to around 6 metres high.

There were no appropriate fire breaks.

MidUK did not remove the wastes as requested and as a result Lincolnshire County Council served a planning enforcement notice in July 2014.

MidUK did not comply with the notice and on July 7, 2015 a fire broke out which spread across the waste and building.

Lincolnshire’s Fire and Rescue Service was in full-time attendance at the site for nearly a week.

Norman Robinson, Environment Agency area director for Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire, said: "Crime of this nature can have a terrible impact on the environment and local communities. "That’s why it’s vital those who handle waste work within the regulations.

"This case demonstrates the need for everyone to take their environmental responsibilities seriously.

"We expect large businesses to set a good example to others in the industry, we hope to work positively in future with the operator."

To report pollution or illegal waste activity, call the Environment Agency’s incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60 or report it anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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