On 13 November 2012, Potteries Demolition Company Limited pleaded guilty at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court to failing to comply with an Enforcement Notice.This had required them to ensure that perimeter fencing for their waste site was repaired in order to prevent unauthorised access.The company was fined £4,500, ordered to pay £15,000 in costs, along with a £15 victim surcharge.The charge was brought by the Environment Agency under the Environmental Permitting England & Wales Regulations 2010.Potteries Demolition Company Limited operate a waste site at Burnham Street, Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent, taking household, commercial and industrial waste. The processing of waste is controlled by an environmental permit regulated by the Environment Agency.A condition of the permit stated that there must be security measures in place to prevent unauthorised access to the site. The condition is there because there are potentially dangerous materials and plant on this industrial site, including excavators, scrap metal, demolition rubble and oil tanks. The site is bordered by a public park and is close to residential housing.Potteries Demolition ignored a series of warnings about the poor state of their perimeter fencing in late 2010 and early 2011. By April 2011, some sections of fencing had not been improved at all. As a result, the Environment Agency served an Enforcement Notice requiring that Potteries Demolition undertake repairs to the fencing by 17 May 2011.On 17 May, a further visit confirmed that the Enforcement Notice had not been complied with. Potteries Demolition did not attend an interview or respond to questions put to them under caution, by letter.The judge said that Potteries Demolition had failed to heed the Environment Agency’s warnings and had failed to take the Enforcement Notice seriously. He also told the company that the fine, which reflected their means, might have been far higher if any child had been injured on the site.Speaking after the case, Environment Agency Officer Paul Jeffcoat said: “These breaches of site security were a serious matter which potentially allowed unauthorised access and put people at risk. Permit conditions are in place for good reason. We will not hesitate to take enforcement action in such cases.”In mitigation, the Court was told that improvements were now being made to the perimeter fencing, and that there had been a change in the directorship of the company which would lead to better engagement with the Environment Agency in future.
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