A waste transfer station manager has received a suspended prison sentence for running an illegal waste site in Torpoint, Cornwall.

Adam Wilcott, who managed the Trevol Business Park transfer station on behalf of Highgate Services Ltd, has been given a 12 month suspended prison sentence by Plymouth Magistrates court and banned from working in the waste industry for 5 years for breaches of site permits.

EA officers visiting the transfer station in January 2018 described the site as in a ‘very poor state’, with unsorted waste overflowing onto adjoining land, contaminated run-off overflowing from a drain and waste was being stored in skips outside the permitted area. The main building was also poorly maintained, which resulted in flooding in areas where waste was being stored.

Highgate Services Ltd was issued with a Compliance Assessment Report but, according to the EA, no attempt was made to rectify the breaches despite officers making 4 subsequent site inspections and attempts by the EA to notifying the company of ongoing problems.

Commenting on the case, Tina Cossens, for the Environment Agency (EA), said: “It is important waste operators comply with the conditions of their permits to safeguard the environment and people. The defendants in this case continued to operate illegally despite receiving advice and guidance from the Environment Agency on numerous occasions. The operators allowed the site to steadily deteriorate until finally we were left with no choice other than to prosecute.

Wilcott was also ordered to pay £2,308 costs and carry out 100 hours of unpaid work after pleading guilty to 4 offences under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016, including not operating a management system that reduced the risk of pollution and failing to comply with an enforcement notice.

Highgate Services Ltd, who took over the environmental permit for the site in December 2017 was also fined a total of £18,800 and ordered to pay £2,338 costs after pleading guilty to the same 4 offences under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016.

The waste transfer station ceased operating in November 2018 and was later sold to a developer, still with a large amount of waste abandoned on site. The Environment Agency says it is now working to ensure the new landowner clears the site of the waste.

Last reviewed 13 January 2020