Doonin Plant Limited were fined £200,000 for the burying of hundreds of tonnes of waste at the former Woodend Colliery, Mill Road, Armadale in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health. The site is within 400 yards/365m of residential properties. Sentence was deferred on Gary Doonin a director of the company until 13 December 2013.
Gary Doonin and his company Doonin Plant Limited were found guilty at Livingston Sheriff Court on 13 September 2012 of four separate offences under Section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Hundreds of tonnes of construction and demolition waste were kept under various depths of soil. This waste, degrades to produce leachate, a harmful effluent. Leachate has a strong odour and if it is released or escapes into the water environment it can have a significant detrimental impact on aquatic life and the biodiversity of groundwater and local water courses. It can also be harmful to humans if it contaminates drinking water sources.
The case also involved the keeping of controlled waste on the Woodend Colliery site without any Waste Management Licence.
Craig Harris, Head of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) Wildlife and Environmental Crime Unit said:
“Doonin Plant Ltd and Gary Doonin carried out activities with a total disregard for the environment.
“The conviction was the result of a lengthy investigation by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and prosecution by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. The severity of the crimes against the environment was marked by this case being prosecuted before a jury and today’s outcome.
“Today’s judgment will send out a strong warning to any other unscrupulous businesses who conduct themselves in this illegal manner”.
Commenting on the sentencing, Ian Buchanan, Area Manager of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), said:
“Today, justice has been done for Scotland’s environment. The sentence delivered is a positive result for the public, who care about the environment, and legitimate waste operators who have been undermined by the actions of Mr Doonin and Doonin Plant Limited. By carrying out such activities, the company and its director demonstrated a complete lack of consideration for the environment and we hope the sentence acts as a deterrent to any operators considering breaking the law.
“SEPA has worked closely with our colleagues at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service to see this complex case reach a positive conclusion and will continue to do so to bring those who commit environmental crimes to justice.
“The conviction of Mr Doonin himself should also act as a warning to company directors that SEPA will consider offences committed by individuals when investigating environmental crimes.”