Couple in dock over waste site breaches

Blackpool Magistrates Court
Blackpool Magistrates Court

A husband and wife have been punished for running what is described as an “above-ground landfill site” near a watercourse.

John and Elaine Park, of Park Hall Farm, Fleetwood Road, Pilling, were found guilty of two charges under the Environmental Act relating to waste at their skip business.

It wasn’t immediately apparent to the defendants how bad it was getting because it was shielded by trees

Mr Park held an environmental permit for the site but the day-to-day running was by Mrs Park, the court heard.

Some of the waste they deal with is subject to strict environmental controls, requires permits and must be stored and treated inside a building.

Park, 53, and his wife, 44, run the Frank Smith skip hire business based on Bracewell Avenue, Poulton, but had no waste management plan and had stored vast quantities of waste material out of doors when not allowed to do so.

Prosecuting for the Environment Agency (EA), Kevin Slack said: “The site comprises a waste transfer station run by the defendants, where general household, commercial and industrial mixed waste was taken in.

“Greenacres Recycling Centre had one large building that benefited from an impermeable surface and a sealed drainage system.

“The outside parts of the site included concreted areas with areas of unmade ground. There was no sealed drainage system serving areas outside the building.

“As a consequence nowhere on site outside the main site building could be used for the storage of mixed waste.

“Mixed non-inert waste, over time, decomposes and generates leachate which can be highly-contaminating to ground surfaces and may ultimately find its way into watercourses. To the back of the site a watercourse known as Main Dyke runs close to the perimeter of the facility.

“Any leachate generated by mixed waste decomposing on the site would be at risk of entering this watercourse if stored other than in compliance with the conditions.”

He added: “The defendants caused very significant quantities of mixed household and commercial type waste to be deposited and stored on outside areas.

“The site effectively became an above-ground waste landfill site, in clear breach of the permit. The nature and manner of storage of the waste on site presents a risk of environmental harm, a serious fire risk and had a very significant adverse amenity impact on the surrounding area and those employed on neighbouring sites.”

Joe Hart, defending, described the couple’s financial problems to the court and the couple’s repeated calls to the EA to say they were trying to sort out issues. He said they had been blighted by equipment failures, unexpected expenses and an arson attack.

He added: “It wasn’t immediately apparent to the defendants how bad it was getting because it was shielded by trees.”

Judge Christopher Cornwall sentenced Mr Park to four months’ jail suspended for 18 months with 250 hours’ unpaid work. Mrs Park was given a community order with 150 hours’ unpaid work.