In our first case the client ran a small waste transfer station as part of his diversification strategy for his farm. He had traded without a permit using waste exemptions for a number of years with the local EA officers ‘approval’. However, when the Environment Agency inspector changed, he found himself on the wrong side of a zealous but competent and to be fair correct officer. She advised he needed an environmental permit. For several reasons he did not get a permit even though one was applied for and in the end the application withdrawn. This state of affairs ended up with the client being prosecuted. Only at this stage were we asked to help. Even at this late stage we contacted the Environment Agency team to make it clear a permit application was going to be submitted, we provided immediate advice and obtained additional waste exemptions and put him in touch with a solicitor who managed the case so that we obtained his permit before his prosecution came to Court.
Although fined a few thousand pounds a new officer was assigned, who undertook joint visits with ourselves to see the new yard and permitted infrastructure bed in. Normality has returned.
In our second case in Wales the client’s site and operation was clearly too small to be permitted and their use of waste exemptions to handle an entirely recoverable set of waste streams looked in order. They were however planning to expand and at some point would cross a limit requiring a permit but not at the point NRW’s officer attended the site and took photographs from ground level to make the piles of waste on site look higher than they were!
A robust defence was put together with an excellent solicitor and barrister. In Court NRW offered to drop the case, if the client accepted caution and obtained a new permit.