A man who ran illegal waste sites, dangerously hoarding hundreds of tonnes of waste tyres, has been handed a 12 month suspended prison sentence.
Andrew Eyre of Wootton, Northampton, was one of two people and a company sentenced on 17 January, 2020 following enforcement action taken by the Environment Agency relating to the illegal storage of tyres in Northamptonshire.
Environment Agency inspections in March 2017 found 1,300 tonnes of tyres – more than 15 times the permitted amount of tyres – stored without any effort to prevent a potentially life-threatening fire.
1,300 tonnes of tyres
The company was only allowed to keep 84 tonnes of tyres, under the conditions of its environmental permit.
By April, the site had been entirely filled with tyres.
Meanwhile, Eyre had set up a second company, Synergy Tyres in Daventry, where he continued to stockpile tyres.
He operated without a permit for four months until Environment Agency officers discovered more than 120 tonnes of tyres there in April 2017.
The court heard that in May 2017, Eyre applied for exemptions to process up to 40 tonnes of tyres a week without an environmental permit, as long as the site adhered to certain conditions and safety measures.
However within a month he had already stockpiled more than twice that limit.
Serious fire risk
The tyres, stored in huge piles with no fire breaks, posed a serious fire risk to homes less than 10 metres away, the court was told.
The site was regularly shifting up to 225 tonnes of tyres, according to documents later provided to the Environment Agency – more than five times the limit allowed under the exemptions.
The company’s exemptions were voided in March 2018, effectively revoking its permission to operate.
In interview, Eyre claimed he didn’t understand the permitting rules but the court heard he’d been formally cautioned in connection with two other sites in the past.
Mullen admitted he knew about the concerns over how his company was operating, but did nothing to resolve them because he hoped it would “sort itself out”.
Sentencing Synergy Tyres (Midland) Ltd and its director Eyre, Judge Rupert Mayo said there had been, “a deliberate and flagrant breach in the face of warnings given”.
He ordered the company to pay a fine of £11,250 and sentenced Eyre to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months on condition that he stays out of trouble and performs 150 hours of unpaid work.
Mullen was made subject to a six month community order with a requirement that he complete 15 days of Rehabilitation Activities.
“No innocent mistake”
Rebecca Staff, environment officer at the Environment Agency, said: “It’s very clear that the mismanagement of these sites was no innocent mistake – rather, laws were broken and legitimate businesses undercut simply for the sake of profit.
“These businesses deliberately ignored rules meant to make sure that waste sites are run safely.
“Most worrying of all, people and the environment were put at serious risk.
“Lives could have been lost”
“Lives could have been lost if a fire had broken out at either site, as one was mere metres away from homes and the other was connected to industrial units.
“We hope this case sends a message loud and clear – we won’t hesitate to take action against those who put profit above their environmental responsibilities.”
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