Last reviewed 20 April 2021

Mark Foley has received a 2-year, 3-month jail sentence illegally disposing of 100,000 tonnes of waste — including hazardous material — at Stowey Quarry, a former limestone quarry near Chew Valley reservoir.

An environmental permit was in place at Stowey Quarry to accept clean and non-hazardous material including soil and construction waste for recovery purposes — to build bunds and embankments in the quarry. However, much of the waste arriving at the quarry was misleadingly described as a “soil substitute” in a deliberate attempt to circumvent the rules.

Investigating Environment Agency officers took samples from trial pits and bore holes to establish the potential risk to human health and the environment from the illegal waste activities at the site. Analysis showed that about half the samples were hazardous and either carcinogenic or ecotoxic.

The investigation included the monitoring of landfill gases and sampling of nearby streams that showed an elevated concentration of gases together with leachate breaking out onto the surface of some surrounding fields.

Not only was the site dishonestly accepting the wrong type of waste, waste transfer notes provided by the waste producers and hauliers, suggested that in 2016 alone, almost 95,000 tonnes of waste was deposited at Stowey Quarry — double the 44,950 tonnes declared by M E Foley (Contractors) Ltd.

Foley was also jailed for a further 18 weeks, to be served concurrently, for supplying false information to the Environment Agency.

Foley’s firm, M E Foley (Contractors) Ltd, which ran the site under an environmental permit, failed to provide the court with any company accounts and was fined £72,000.

Further defendants in the case will be sentenced in July at Bristol Crown Court and hearing dates for proceeds of crime proceedings have been set.