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Waste Company Directors Pay Price for Violating Anti-Pollution Laws

Protecting the environment is a top government priority and those who break the law can expect to be severely punished. In one case, directors of a waste composting company which went bust, leaving piles of rotting waste for others to clear up, were handed suspended jail terms and hit hard in the pocket.

The company was licensed to recycle food and green waste but had repeatedly breached the conditions attached to its environmental permit, which was ultimately suspended. Its premises had been effectively abandoned before the company went into liquidation. However, hundreds of tonnes of waste were left behind and it cost about £1.125 million from the public purse to clear the site.

Two directors of the company were prosecuted for, amongst other things, consenting or conniving in the company’s failure to comply with the conditions of its permit. One of them was convicted by a jury and the other pleaded guilty on the basis of neglect. They received suspended prison sentences and were ordered to carry out unpaid work. They were both also disqualified from acting as directors for five years.

Under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, a £60,000 confiscation order was imposed on one of the directors and a £30,000 order on the other. They also respectively received compensation orders in the sums of £200,000 and £70,000. The facts of the case emerged as prosecution lawyers unsuccessfully applied to the High Court for the amount of the confiscation orders to be increased.