Last reviewed 28 June 2021

A Cambridgeshire waste wood processing company has been sentenced for failing to manage the risk of fire and containment of dust at its site, and for causing dust emissions that impacted on neighbouring businesses and a fishing lake.

Huntingdon Magistrates’ Court heard how East Anglian Resources Ltd breached two conditions of its environmental permit allowing it to store and treat up to 30,000 tonnes of waste wood for recycling per year.

Environment Agency officers visited the waste wood recycling site on more than 30 occasions after the permit was issued in 2016 to November 2018, and found that piles of waste wood were frequently too large and too close together, posing a serious risk of fire by spontaneous combustion. The company had a Fire Prevention Plan in place but persistently failed to comply with it. The Environment Agency suspended the permit three times to force the company to comply, but this had limited effect.

In addition, officers noted that dusty material was allowed to accumulate and that the dust was not suppressed. Dust escaped the site on many occasions, affecting people working at neighbouring businesses and visitors to a nearby fishing lake.

The company, which has since been liquidated, was sentenced in its absence and fined £26,800, as well as being ordered to pay costs of £29,110.18 and a victim surcharge of £170.