Published Friday 5 January 2018 at 16:01
A Director of a former Blackburn waste plastics recycling business has been handed an eight-month suspended prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete 120 hours of unpaid work.
David Holt (50) of Brockhall Village, Blackburn, was sentenced this week at Preston Crown Court after admitting three environmental offences relating to the operation of the former V10 Polymers Ltd waste plastics recycling business at Rockcliffe Works, Paterson Street, Blackburn.
The Environment Agency brought the prosecution after his company breached its environmental permit, failed to comply with enforcement notices and continued to deposit waste despite suspension and subsequent revocation of its permit.
Environment Agency Officer, Karl Hunter said,
In this case, David Holt deliberately stored an excessive quantity of combustible waste for a number of years without taking the necessary fire prevention measures. He failed to implement a fire prevention plan and repeatedly failed to act on notices served by the Environment Agency to do so. Even when the Environment Agency revoked the company’s permit, he continued to ride roughshod over our legislative requirements and accept waste into the site, illegally.
The fire at the site on 21 August 2017, and three subsequent fires have had a significant impact on local residents and businesses and demonstrated that our concerns were well-founded.
In September 2017 we used our emergency powers to create fire breaks within the waste, which significantly reduced the size and duration of subsequent fires. Had David Holt produced and complied with an adequate fire prevention plan, installing fire breaks within the waste, it would have greatly reduced the consequences of fires at the site.
We hope the court’s sentencing decision demonstrates the importance of companies adhering to their environmental permits.
Harry Catherall, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Chief Executive, said:
We welcome the guilty plea and subsequent sentencing as this has been an extremely difficult and uncertain time for the local community and indeed has been a huge drain on public resources.
We are hopeful that this sentence will prevent any further incidents and will act as a warning to others operating illegally that action will be taken. The Council looks forward to receiving plans for the site’s redevelopment in the near future.
Neil Hardiman, Lancashire Fire and Rescue’s Service Delivery Manager, said:
We hope that this sentence is a deterrent for this individual and any others that are involved in this industry who are operating unlawfully. We continue to work towards a positive resolution for the site with our partner agencies.
Link to the full Environment Agency press release can be found here.