Companies BW Riddle and Chungs UK have been fined the maximum amount for exporting 259 tonnes of mixed waste to China.
Ten containers loaded by BW Riddle and stopped the Port of Felixstowe were found to contain a mix of materials that were not right for automatic export to China and could only have been sent if they had a proper description and the country was happy to accept it knowing what it contained.
However, China had not agreed to accept the waste and the lack of description of the material meant there was no prior agreement to show that it would be managed in an environmentally sound way. Environment Agency permission would also have been required.
BW Riddle partner Colin Riddle admitted to breaching the regulation and also failing to fill in paperwork correctly describing the waste. He was fined the maximum for the illegal shipment offence, which was £5,000 and £4,000 for failing in his duty of care.
Chungs UK which sourced the material also pleaded guilty to breaching the regulations and was fined £5,000. Both companies were also each ordered to pay £6,5000 towards costs.
Environment Agency office Claire Parker said: “Preventing the illegal export of waste is a top priority for the Environment Agency and we will take action where we find evidence of illegal waste movement.
“The law is clear – it is always illegal to export waste from the UK for disposal. It can only be exported for recycling but not if it is hazardous as it can harm people and the environment.
“Anyone wishing to export waste must make sure they fully understand the UK legislation and the law of the country the waste is going to before they arrange the export. If in doubt they should contact us for advice first.”
On the transfer note, the waste was described as Type A with a waste code indicating aluminium from construction and demolition waste. But the containers were found to contain a mixture of scrap metal, plastics, rubber, circuit boards, chipboard and wood fragement, glass, foam, brick and stone.