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County Durham man fined for illegal waste transportation

A County Durham man whose company collected and transported 25,000 tonnes of waste to unknown locations without a waste carrier’s registration will pay fines and costs totalling almost £10,000.

Robert Surtees, 67, Eskdale Gardens, Shildon, failed to provide details of where the waste was taken to the Environment Agency.

He appeared at Durham Crown Court for sentencing on Monday 13 May after previously pleading guilty to failing to provide information about where he transported the waste.

He was fined £4,250 and ordered to pay £5,650 in costs and a victim surcharge.

The court heard that Surtees’s company collected and transported waste. Waste carriers must hold a carrier’s registration and abide by the waste duty of care regulations. Surtees’ registration expired in July 2020.

The waste duty of care regulations includes ensuring there are waste transfer notes outlining where the waste originated from, who transported it and where it was taken.

170 loads of waste transported

In September 2022, acting on information received, an Environment Agency officer attended a site in County Durham owned by B&S Recycling Ltd, of which Surtees was a director, where it was suspected waste may have been illegally deposited. There was no evidence of this but the officer made further enquiries.

During his investigation another company confirmed that B&S Recycling Ltd had removed waste from two sites where they had been working.

Waste transfer notes confirmed that between September 2020 and September 2022 B&S Recycling LTD collected 170 loads of waste, totalling around 25,000 tonnes from two sites in Stockton-on-Tees and Birtley, Tyne and Wear. B&S Recycling was paid £157,963.71 to remove this waste.

None of the 170 waste transfer notes had information about where the waste was taken.

In October 2022 the Environment Agency officer spoke with the defendant who denied that any waste had been deposited at his own County Durham site, claiming it had been mixed with mag-lime and spread on farmers’ fields.

The defendant was served a notice which required Surtees to provide information on where each of the 170 loads had been deposited by 31 October. No response was received by the defendant.

Gary Wallace, Area Environment Manager for the Environment Agency in the North East, said:

The waste industry is strictly regulated to prevent pollution. Duty of care legislation ensures we know what waste is being transported, who is transporting it and where to, ensuring the community and environment is protected.

Surtees totally disregarded these regulations, profiting from transporting a large amount waste without any evidence of where it’s been deposited potentially causing harm to the environment as well as undermining legitimate waste carriers who operate within the law.

People can check if a business is a registered waste carrier here: Waste Carriers, Brokers and Dealers

To report illegal waste activity call the Environment Agency on 0800 807060 or Crimestoppers, 100% anonymous. Always: 0800 555 111.

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