Heavy Fines For Scrap Tyre Abuse
In January, two men pleaded guilty at Worcester Magistrates court to charges relating to illegal dumping of tyres. The case was brought by the Environment Agency (EA) under the 1990 Environmental Protection Act (EPA) and the two men were fined a total of £12,250 and ordered to pay costs of £5,500. Arthur Roger Thomas pleaded guilty to burying tyres at two sites and was fined £5,000 for each offence, with £4,000 costs.
Roy William Ashe, co-defendant and a partner in a tyre business, pleaded guilty to three charges of failing to take all reasonable measures to ensure that the tyres were properly disposed of. He received fines of £750 for each offence and was ordered to pay costs of £1,500. The case against a third defendant was referred to another court at a later date.
It was back in October 1999 that a member of the public reported to the EA that a number of lorry tyres had been buried in a field. Subsequent investigations led to the three defendants and the EA says that it relies on reports from the public, which are then followed up by Agency investigators. In this case, the field was dug up and 200 lorry tyres discovered.
A similar investigation at the second site revealed no buried tyres, but 20 loose tyres were found stored without a waste management licence and Mr. Thomas had made admissions in an interview that he had buried tyres there, although none were found. A spokesman for the EA in the area told TYRES & ACCESSORIES that the incidence of illegal fly-tipping of tyres is on the increase and, although the Agency takes the illegal disposal of waste seriously, it is rare for a case to come to court: due to the lack of identification on tyres, it is difficult to get evidence and, all too often, the EA ends up disposing of the tyres with no-one being found responsible.
However, the EA says that the case above shows how important it is for companies to recognise their duty of care under the EPA when waste tyres are involved. Advice from the EPA is that “companies must ensure they always deal with registered waste carriers and licensed waste management facilities”. In other words, not only should you have asked to see the carrier’s licence, but you should know where your tyres are being disposed of.
Cases such as this may be rare, but the levels of fines show how seriously these matters are regarded and, given the chance, the EA says “we shall not hesitate to prosecute”. Companies unsure about their obligations, or the status of waste carriers which they use, are invited to contact the Environment Agency..