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Environment Agency weeds out waste villains

Swift action by Environment Agency officers has led to the closure and clearance of an illegal waste site at Parnell Street, Houghton-le-Spring.


Environment Agency weeds out waste villains f
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The Environment Agency was contacted by Sunderland City Council following complaints from the surrounding community after the owners of two allotments were found to be operating a rudimentary waste transfer station, sorting waste illegally collected from local house clearances.

The waste, which included tyres, refrigerators, bathtubs and doors was being sorted to recover valuables before the remainder was left in-situ, on unmade grounds, where it presented a risk to the environment and public health.

Environment Agency Area Environment Manager, Andrew Turner, said:

“Our waste team acted swiftly to protect local people and the environment by shutting down this illegal waste site.This should act as a warning to any person or business who transports, treats, stores or deposits waste without the required environmental permit – you are breaking the law and we will not hesitate to take action.

Landlords and landowners also need to take care because if waste is left illegally on any land, as happened in this case, they have responsibility for removing it.

Following our initial investigations into this case, we wrote to the landowner and those renting the allotment letting them know there could be serious consequences if the illegal activity did not stop immediately and the site cleared. Thankfully our advice was taken on board and the waste has now been removed.

This is a great result for the local community and demonstrates the impact our regulation has on tackling waste crime.”

Offence to deposit waste without a permit

It is an offence to deposit or knowingly permit waste to be deposited on land unless in accordance with the conditions of an environmental permit, and if convicted in the Magistrates court, the maximum punishment for such offences is 12 months imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine. In the Crown Court, sentencing could be as much as a five year jail term or an unlimited fine.

Mr Turner added:

“We would encourage people to use their local authority’s waste collection and recycling services, but where this isn’t possible, you should ensure that your waste is taken away by businesses that are properly authorised to carry it.”



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Owain Griffiths

Owain Griffiths

Head of Circular Economy at Volvo Cars

Owain joined Volvo Cars in June 2021 to lead Circular Economy in the Global Sustainability Team. The company has committed to being a circular business by 2040 and has financial, recycled content and CO2 based targets for 2025, all of which Owain is working across the company to make happen. Owain previously worked for circular economy consultancy Oakdene Hollins where he advised businesses on evidence led circular economy implementation. 

Turning into a circular business and the importance of vehicle reuse and recycling.

The presentation will cover the work Volvo Cars is doing to achieve 2025 but mainly focus on the transformational work towards 2040 and the business and value chain changes being considered. Attention will be paid to the way vehicles are being dealt with at the end of life and the complexities of closing material and component loops. Opportunities and challenges which Volvo Cars is facing will be presented including engagement with 3rd parties and increasing pressure from stakeholders.

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