Heavy fine for waste company

PUBLISHED: 10:00 08 January 2009 | UPDATED: 13:51 06 May 2010

A HEFTY fine was imposed by magistrates this week on a skip hire company and its director who repeatedly ignored warnings to legalise a waste transfer station. John Caulfield, of Luton, whose company Caulfield and Son Ltd is based at Black Barn in Childw

A HEFTY fine was imposed by magistrates this week on a skip hire company and its director who repeatedly ignored warnings to legalise a waste transfer station.

John Caulfield, of Luton, whose company Caulfield and Son Ltd is based at Black Barn in Childwickbury between Harpenden and St Albans, pleaded guilty at St Albans Magistrates Court last month to five offences each of depositing, permitting, keeping and treating controlled waste without a waste management licence or environmental permit.

On Monday, the company was ordered to pay a total of £16,000 in fines and £7,636 compensation to the Environment Agency plus costs of £3,736. John Caulfield was fined a total of £4,000 together with £2,119 in compensation for his involvement as the sole director of the company.

In January 2007, officers from the Environment Agency and Herts County Council found stockpiles of controlled waste including construction and demolition waste, green waste, waste soils, scrap metal, wood and general household items such as a fridge and mattresses.

The Environment Agency warned Mr Caulfield and his company that they were operating illegally and should arrange for the waste to be moved to a suitably-licensed facility.

During further visits in August and October that year, officers found that not only was the site still operating but more waste had been accepted. Another letter was sent to the company and in October Mr Caulfield admitted that he was in control of the site and had been director of the company since 1988.

He told officers that waste entered the site in company skips and would then be deposited on the ground for sorting before being taken off site for further recovery or landfill.

Mr Caulfield also admitted that he had received letters asking him to stop but that waste was still being imported on to the site. He maintained he was not aware of the need for a waste management licence.

Two further visits to the site took place in June and November last year and on both occasions the site was in operation.

Environment officer Victoria Owen said after the hearing: "Mr Caulfield and his company blatantly ignored repeated warnings to stop their operation and seek the correct licence. This meant that for several years waste which should have been subject to regulation was being handled and treated at the site.

"Ignorance of the law is not a defence and we are pleased the court has deemed this a serious case by handing out a significant fine both to the company and to Mr Caulfield himself.


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