A waste operator has been hit with a record fine after being found guilty of carrying out one of Scotland’s biggest environmental crimes.
Doonin Plant Ltd was fined £200,000, the largest cumulative financial penalty ever handed out for an environmental offence reported to the procurator fiscal by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). Sentencing of director Gary Doonin was deferred for a year with the Sheriff warning that any further offences during that time could lead to a custodial sentence.
In September, Doonin Plant, along with Gary Doonin, was found guilty of keeping hundreds of tonnes of controlled waste at a site in a former colliery in West Lothian in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment. Doonin and his company were also found guilty of keeping controlled waste without a licence.
The conviction and sentencing follow a number of previous convictions of Doonin Plant in respect of environmental offences which also resulted in penalties, including a £90,000 fine in 2010.
Ian Buchanan, SEPA’s area manager, said justice was done for Scotland’s environment. “The sentence delivered is a positive result for the public, who care about the environment, and legitimate waste operators who have been undermined by the actions of Mr Doonin and Doonin Plant Limited. By carrying out such activities, the company and its director demonstrated a complete lack of consideration for the environment and we hope the sentence acts as a deterrent to any operators considering breaking the law.”
SEPA worked closely with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) on what was described as a “complex” case. Craig Harris, head of the COPFS wildlife and environmental crime unit said later: “Doonin Plant Ltd and Gary Doonin carried out activities with a total disregard for the environment – and not for the first time.
“Today’s judgment will send out a strong warning to any other unscrupulous businesses who conduct themselves in this illegal manner”.