Businessman handed £30,000 fine for running illegal waste sites

A waste boss has been given a suspended jail sentence and ordered to pay £30,000 after pleading guilty to accepting waste onto three sites over a prolonged without the necessary environmental permits in place.

Sidney Nicholls, who operated under the trading names of UKBF Group Ltd and Plastics Recycling Centre Ltd at two sites in Kidderminster and one in Stanford Bridge, was sentenced to one year in prison suspended for two years at Worcester Crown Court and ordered to pay £30,000 costs.

The court heard how Nicholls “deliberately and over a prolonged period” accepted waste onto each of the three sites without the necessary environmental permits and in breach of the registered waste exemptions required to ensure that there was no risk to human health or the environment.

Nicholls avoided costs relating to the waste activity and failed to produce waste records as required by law. Large well known companies were among Nicholls’ customers, the court was told.

When Environment Agency officers visited the sites, they found large amounts of assorted types of waste, including hazardous waste, being illegally stored and treated.

Large quantities of plastics, contaminated with dairy and wine products, were found at the Gemini and SDF sites, with no measures in place to prevent the liquids from polluting the nearby Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal and River Severn. The quantities found could have caused significant harm to the environment, including to fish and invertebrates, the court heard.

Complaints were received by the Environment Agency about rat, fly and odour problems at the Gemini site, while the SDF and Gemini sites were also deemed to be at high risk of fire.

Waste was moved between the SDF and Gemini sites, and after Nicholls and his companies were evicted from the Gemini site, on to Cherry Tree Farm.

Nicholls eventually abandoned the waste filled sites. The landowners are continuing to work with the Environment Agency, and the companies from where the waste originated, to clear the site.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “Waste crime is a serious offence with tough penalties as it can damage the environment, blight local communities and undermine those who operate legally. This case sends out a clear message that we will not hesitate to take action to ensure the protection of the environment and avoid harm to health.

“Businesses can support us with this by carrying out their duty of care and due diligence checks to ensure that they are using legitimate companies to deal with their waste.”