Recycling firms whose sites posed 'high fire risks' hit with huge fines - as is boss

Three recycling companies, and their boss, whose sites posed a "high fire risk" to local communities have been ordered to pay more than £60,000.

Lodgewood site at Telford. Photo: Environment Agency
Lodgewood site at Telford. Photo: Environment Agency

Robert Moody, who runs three companies across the Black Country, Staffordshire and Shropshire, admitted failing to ensure his firms complied with environmental permits when he appeared at Dudley Magistrates' Court last week.

The court heard how the three firms - Berkswell Recycling Limited, Hollybush Recycling Limited and Lodgewood Recycling Limited - were storing excessive amounts of wood, increasing fire and health risks.

The three companies headed up by Moody are part of Jack Moody Recycling Ltd, of Warstone Road, Wolverhampton.

Founded by Jack Moody in 1963, the group describes itself as "one of the UK's leading experts in the construction, maintenance and environment industries".

The Environment Agency (EA) said that officers offered request advice, and things came to a head in September 2017 when Moody acknowledged that they were operating outside the limits.

EA officers found so much stockpiled wood at the Lodgewood site in Redhill Way, St George's, Telford, that there was no space to quarantine waste in the event of a fire.

At the Hollybush site, near Cannock, huge stockpiles of waste wood were found on an area of the site which had no concrete surfacing to prevent pollution of the ground.

All three firms received Enforcement Notices in October 2017 requiring them to reduce stockpile sizes within a six-week period. However, these were not complied with and six months later the EA served suspension notices to prohibit the companies receiving any more waste until the risk of pollution was reduced.

Hollybush site at Wolverhampton. Photo: Environment Agency

District Judge Wheeler said the offences had been carried out over a significant period of time and were not far short of a flagrant disregard for the law.

The charges against Moody and Lodgewood dated from September 1 2017 to October 18 2018, while the charge against Hollybush was dated between September 1 2017 and August 23 2019. The Berkswell charge dated back to September 1 2017 to August 31 2018.

Moody, director of all three companies, was fined £4,000 for each of the three environmental charges he admitted, leading to a total fine of £12,000. He was also ordered to pay costs £10,000 costs and a £170 surcharge, leaving him needing to pay a total of £22,170.

Berkswell Recycling Limited, Hollybush Recycling Limited and Lodgewood Recycling Limited were all fined £5,400 and ordered to pay £7,500 costs and a £170 surcharge. The total penalty for each firm was £13,070.

“We welcome this sentence which should act as a deterrent to others considering flouting the law," said Iain Storer, Installations Lead for the Environment Agency in the West Midlands.

“These sites posed a significant environmental threat due to the high risk of fire and potentially significant impact to local communities and amenities.

“As a regulator, the Environment Agency will not hesitate to pursue companies that fail to meet its obligations to the environment.

“The conditions of an environmental permit are designed to protect people and the environment.

“Failure to comply with these legal requirements is a serious offence that can damage the environment, harm human health and undermine local legitimate waste companies."

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