Big fine for waste firm

A Wigan boss and his waste firm have been heavily fined after prolonged abuses of Britain's environmental protection laws.

Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 7:32 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 3:42 pm
The chaotic state of Ainscough Skip Hire's Wallgate yard when Environment Agency inspectors arrived

Wallgate-based Ainscough Skip Hire repeatedly breached statutes governing how rubbish is safely and satisfactorily stored at its long-established Miry Lane yard.

It also admitted allowing its fleet of skip hauling vehicles to pollute the highway.

Ainscough Skip Hire director Graham Ainscough and the firm pleaded guilty to six charges after a private prosecution bought by the Environment Agency (EA) which had mounted a year-long surveillance operation at the Faraday Close site.

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The chaotic state of Ainscough Skip Hire's Miry Lane yard when inspectors arrived

Ainscough and the firm itself were ordered to pay a total of more than £42,870 in fines and the costs of prosecution.

The EA said today that it hoped that the “hefty” fine imposed on Ainscoughs’ would discourage other operators from breaching the terms of the environmental permits that are granted to authorised waste disposal operators.

Mr Ainscough, however, declined to comment.

The prosecution follows an investigation by EA officers who had been alerted that permit conditions were being repeatedly flouted.

The chaotic state of Ainscough Skip Hire's Miry Lane yard when inspectors arrived

They first arrived for a spot inspection in October 2014, but then visited throughout the following year where they continued to find a number of other breaches.

Ainscoughs admitted storing waste collected in its skips from around the borough improperly, outside of the licensed storage building and outside of the permitted area in the yard.

The company also pleaded guilty to allowing mud from the yard to leave the Faraday Close site plus access which ended up messing up a section of the public highway.

The hearing heard that an environment permit is granted subject to a number of conditions. These aim to protect Wigan’s environment from being contaminated by potentially harmful substances, along with noxious smells or unsightly litter.

It insists on appropriate management systems and infrastructure being in place prior to waste collection and processing operations being allowed to begin.

The permit imposes strict operating conditions on such firms as Ainscough Skip Hire to prevent “harm to human health,” as well as protecting the environment.

Ainscough was fined £2,240 for each of the three charges and told that he must pay £224 victim surcharge. Ainscough Skip Hire itself was fined £10,000 on three counts, while also being ordered to pay full costs of £4,931, plus a victim surcharge of £1,000.

Today the EA’s area environmental manager Tracey Rimmer said that it put such measures in place “for the safety of the local community and environment.”

She said: “Our team found clear breaches of these conditions when they visited the site on a number of occasions.

“The protection of the environment and the safety of the public is at the heart of what we do.”