Lothian man sentenced to community payback order for illegal waste activity

date15 October 2015

A former waste site operator in Loanhead was sentenced to a community payback order of 180 hours at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday (14 October) after a site investigation by Scotland’s environment watchdog found that waste was being deposited and kept there without the required permissions.

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James Cunningham pled guilty to depositing or knowingly causing or permitting the deposit of controlled waste, namely household, commercial and industrial waste and of keeping or knowingly permitting controlled waste namely mixed construction and demolition waste to be kept at his site at Clippens Yards, Straiton Road, Loanhead, Midlothian without a Waste Management Licence. The matter was reported to the Procurator Fiscal by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

On 24 November 2010, Mr Cunningham assumed sole responsibility for the site, and the waste that was there from a previous business.

Mr Cunningham was subsequently given permission by SEPA to process the existing waste on site to remove recyclable material, and therefore reduce the quantity of waste required to be sent to landfill.  It was made clear to Mr Cunningham that no additional waste could be brought onto the site as there was no Waste Management Licence in place.

However, when SEPA officers visited the site it became clear that not only was there very little waste leaving the site, but more was being brought on.

SEPA was informed on 1 December 2011 that he had ceased trading and vacated the site, leaving the waste there. 

Michael Smith, SEPA’s reporting officer, said:

“It seems that Mr Cunningham was depositing waste at the Clippens with no intention of removing it to a licensed waste site. Now that he has ceased trading it is the landowners who are now responsible for the waste, which will cost a significant amount to remove.

“We hope that this prosecution sends a very strong message to those who are running similar sites around the country. We will always try to help operators understand their responsibilities, and will work with them to get their site compliant with the law. However, ongoing disregard for environmental legislation will not be tolerated by SEPA, and we will not hesitate to refer cases like this to the Procurator Fiscal.”

Ends

Notes to editor

The exact charges James Cunningham pled guilty to were:

 

  • Between 24th November 2010 and 1st December 2011, both dates inclusive at the Clippens Yards, Straiton Road, Loanhead, Midlothian, EH20 9NS you JAMES MOFFAT CUNNINGHAM did keep or did knowingly permit controlled waste to be kept controlled waste, namely mixed construction and demolition waste including building materials and rubble, gas bottles, plastic, wood, metal, mattresses, toys, green waste, electrical goods, a fridge, various bits of wood, cardboard, plastic wrapping and house doors in or on land otherwise than in accordance with a waste management licence in that in that you did keep said wastes without the authority of a waste management licence; CONTRARY to the Environmental Protection Act 1990, Section 33(1)(b)(i)

  • Between 24th November 2010 and 1st December 2011 both dates inclusive in or on land at the Clippens Yards, Straiton Road, Loanhead, Midlothian, EH20 9NS you JAMES MOFFAT CUNNINGHAM did deposit or knowingly cause or permit the deposit of controlled waste, namely household, commercial and industrial waste consisting of wood, cardboard and plastics, and specifically wooden doors, part of a wooden staircase and a fridge unit, on or in said land otherwise than in accordance with a waste management licence; CONTRARY to the Environmental Protection Act 1990, Section 33(1)(a) & (6) as amended.