Two scrap vehicle merchants have been jailed for polluting waterways with oil in Worcestershire
According to Worcester News, four years ago two scrap vehicle merchants risked contaminating water and killing wildlife after disposing of waste oil into watercourses in Worcestershire.
The oil had been draining from a site on Blackpole Trading Estate where Ronald Calder and Giles Detheridge were working on scrap vehicles and it is estimated that 200 end-of-life vehicles scrapped at the site, had oil removed from them, without making the site environmentally safe.
Calder and Detheridge who began operating the site as C&D Metals in August 2011, did not carry out work to seal the drainage, Judge Robert Juckes, QC, said.
The legitimate business that operated at the site had to spend £130,000 preparing it correctly, the judge said.
The pair had been given a warning in August 2010 when they operated on a previous site without an environmental permit.
They then moved their operation to the Blackpole site where “no steps were taken to carry out the sealing and drainage work,” the judge said.
In May 2012, the Environment Agency was alerted to oil in the tributary of Barbourne Brook and “mercifully” took action by putting in booms and taking other measures.
The judge said: “If that had not been done, the contamination would have got into the brook itself and into the ponds at Gheluvelt Park. Such things have caused the death of birds and animals.”
Both Calder and Detheridge pleaded guilty to operating the site without a permit between August 2011 and December 2012. Calder also admitted knowingly allowing the oil to pour into the freshwater tributary between May 2012 and November 2012, failing to comply with an anti-pollution order in December 2012 and failing to provide copies of notes to do with controlled waste in November 2012.
John Bruce, who leased the Blackpole site to the pair, pleaded guilty to knowingly allowing the oil to be discharged into the water between May 2012 and November 2012 and allowing the site to be used without a proper environmental permit between November 2011 and November 2012.
Although Detheridge had ceased to be actively involved in the site from January 2012, he had been an equal partner in the business with Calder, who “ignored” notices served on him.
Calder was given an 11-month jail term and Detheridge six months. Bruce was fined £1,000 on each charge which he had to pay within two months, or face 45 days in jail and given 28 months to pay the £28,000 costs.
An Environment Agency spokesman said its officers “acted promptly” to contain the oil, and ensure it did not enter and contaminate the main brook and drinking water supply, from the River Severn further downstream.
The EA spokesman said that stolen metal was also found at the site by West Mercia Constabulary, and police and agency officers worked together to investigate these activities and prevent metal being taken to the site.
Environment Agency officer, Lyndon Essex, in charge of the investigation, said:
“Having an environmental permit to run a waste site is important as this sets the standards and infrastructure that is necessary to prevent harm to the environment and human health.
“These standards were not present at this site and as a result oils ran into the ground and Barbourne Brook.
“Calder and Detheridge also undercut other legitimate waste operators by operating this site.
“We take waste crime very seriously and will not hesitate to take legal action to protect people and the environment and ensure a level playing field for business.”