Sunderland waste firm fined after breaches led to illegal dumping

Thompsons Waste Centre in The Parade, Hendon. Image copyright Google Maps.
Thompsons Waste Centre in The Parade, Hendon. Image copyright Google Maps.

A Sunderland firm has been ordered to pay more than £14,700 for breaking environmental laws which led to the illegal dumping of 585 tonnes of waste.

Thompson Waste Ltd runs a waste transfer station at The Parade in Hendon.

Those that don’t are as liable for the detrimental impact it has on the environment and local communities as those that dump it.

Rachael Caldwell

The company was handed the fine by Sunderland Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to charges brought by the Environment Agency for failing to comply with duty of care legislation.

The legislation requires businesses to ensure their waste is transferred and disposed of legally.

Chris Bunting, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, told the court that a proportion of 585 tonnes of mixed waste, which was dumped illegally in a disused factory warehouse at Lisburn Terrace, Pallion, could be traced back to Thompson Waste Ltd.

It cost the landlords of the site over £100,000 to dispose of lawfully.

Investigations showed that between September 2015 and January 2016, the company paid a local man below market rates to remove waste from their site without fulfilling their legal requirement to check it was being taken to a permitted destination. The paperwork completed failed to include required details such as the origin of the waste or an accurate description.

The court ruled that the company had acted recklessly.

In mitigation, Robin Patton, acting on behalf of the company, told the court that the waste represented a tiny fraction of the company’s business and that they had co-operated with the investigation.

Thompson Waste Ltd was fined £3,335 and ordered to pay compensation of £5,394 and costs of £6,000.

Rachael Caldwell, from the Environment Agency’s Waste and Enforcement Department, said: “All producers and operators have a responsibility to ensure that their waste is disposed of lawfully.

“Those that don’t are as liable for the detrimental impact it has on the environment and local communities as those that dump it.

“Thompson Waste Ltd broke the law over several months, showing little regard for the environment.

“We hope this case demonstrates the importance of environmental compliance.

“Anyone who breaks the rules will be pursued, and where repeated or significant breaches are found, we will prosecute.”

The agency added a trial involving other defendants allegedly linked to the illegal waste dumping in Pallion is set to take place next year.

A spokesperson for Thompson Waste Management said: “We deal with many quarries, landfills and recycling businesses and I understand that one of these is linked to a current national investigation by the Environment Agency.

“The main part of the offence the EA brought to court against us was missing EWC codes, all required information was correct. The minor offence is still in fact however falling below our compliance and we would like to point out that, all other aspects of the paper work and duty of cares and policies and procedures were followed.

“The Environment Agency has never suggested that we were part of any illegal dumping, now or in our 50 years of trading with a waste management site.

“Thompson Waste Management has an impeccable record in disposing of waste responsibly.”

If you see waste crime taking place report it by calling incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.