Alloa based recycling firm Oran Environmental Solutions (OES) has been handed a confiscation order of £345,558.43 (on 15 February) for licence breaches which resulted in SEPA receiving numerous complaints from local residents during 2013.
The confiscation order is the largest result under the Proceed of Crime Act (POCA) to date for environmental offences in Scotland and was imposed in addition to fines amounting to £12,000 for waste related offences.
POCA recovers the financial benefit made by those undertaking criminal activity. In addition to the confiscation, OES Ltd was fined for three charges of non-compliance to which they pled guilty on 16 February 2015.
The charges related to the company’s failure to remove waste materials from their Kilbagie Mill site following enforcement action by SEPA, storing controlled waste on land not covered by a Waste Management Licence and failing to carry out adequate pest control measures at the facility.
Calum MacDonald, SEPA’s Executive Director, said the judgement “sends out a clear and unequivocal message that environmental crime will not be tolerated and that SEPA will with its partners pursue those who seek to profit from waste crime”.
“Compliance within the waste industry is non-negotiable and we will continue to take effective and proportionate action as required to tackle non-compliant waste operators. The confiscation order reflects the costs avoided by the company in undertaking these illegal activities and is the result of close collaborative working arrangements between SEPA and the Crown Office.”
During the course of inspections in 2013, SEPA officers identified that OES Ltd were using an unlicensed area of their site to store additional waste. The main site was at capacity and as a result existing stockpiles had begun to be kept out with the boundaries of the licenced site.
In an effort to ensure compliance at Kilbagie Mill, two Enforcement Notices were served in May 2013. These required OES Ltd to cease accepting waste and also remove the backlog of stockpiled waste. As a result of these notices not being complied with, SEPA partially suspended the site’s Waste Management Licence to prohibit the acceptance of more waste. Further enforcement action was also taken to ensure that waste on unlicensed areas of the site was removed.
The backlog of waste resulted in SEPA receiving numerous complaints from local residents during 2013 regarding pest control at the facility, including the increased presence of vermin, flies and birds. Many of the complaints noted that residents felt the facility had unfairly impacted on the local community.
Given the potential impact on the local environment which the licence breaches posed together with the uncooperative nature of OES Ltd, SEPA referred the case to the Procurator Fiscal for consideration.