A Scottish recycling firm has been handed a record confiscation order for licence breaches.
Oran Environmental Solutions (OES) Ltd was ordered to return £345,558 in proceeds from its activities, which is the largest result under the Proceeds of Crime Act for environmental offences in Scotland. The company has also been ordered to pay fines of £12,000 for waste-related offences.
The charges related to the company’s failure to remove waste materials from their Kilbagie Mill site following enforcement action by SEPA, storing controlled waste on land not covered by a Waste Management Licence and failing to carry out adequate pest control measures at the facility.
The offences were discovered during inspections by SEPA officers in 2013 when OES Ltd was found to be using an unlicensed area of their site to store additional waste. With the main site at capacity, existing stockpiles were being kept out of the boundaries of the licenced site.
In an effort to ensure compliance at the site, two Enforcement Notices were issued in May 2013, which required OES Ltd to cease accepting waste and to remove the backlog of stockpiled waste. As these notices were not complied with, SEPA partially suspended the site’s Waste Management Licence to prohibit the acceptance of more waste. Further enforcement action was also taken to ensure that waste on unlicensed areas of the site was removed.
The Proceeds of Crime Act recovers the financial benefit made by those undertaking criminal activity. In addition to the confiscation, OES Ltd was fined for three charges of non-compliance to which they pled guilty on 16 February 2015.
Calum MacDonald, SEPA’s Executive Director, said of the sentence against Oran Environmental Solutions Ltd:
“This sends out a clear and unequivocal message that environmental crime will not be tolerated and that SEPA will with its partners pursue those who seek to profit from waste crime.
“Compliance within the waste industry is non-negotiable and we will continue to take effective and proportionate action as required to tackle non-compliant waste operators. The confiscation order reflects the costs avoided by the company in undertaking these illegal activities and is the result of close collaborative working arrangements between SEPA and the Crown Office.”
The backlog of waste resulted in numerous complaints to SEPA from local residents about the impact on the local community and increased presence of vermin, flies and birds.
SEPA said it referred the case to the Procurator Fiscal for consideration as a result of the potential impact on the local environment, together with the uncooperative nature of OES Ltd.
For further information on the case, visit the SEPA website.
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