Northumberland man receives fine for operating without a permit

A Northumberland resident has been fined for storing scrap vehicles without a permit.

William Scott Armstrong, of Linton Colliery, appeared at Berwick Magistrates’ Court earlier this week.

The 31-year-old pleaded guilty to one offence of operating a regulated facility without a permit and was fined £1,160, ordered to pay costs of £3,000, and a victim surcharge of £116.

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Acting on behalf of the Environment Agency, solicitor Simon Crowder told the court that Armstrong had been running a small-scale waste operation at a site in Linton Colliery without an environmental permit.

A permit for the site had been revoked in October 2014 and as a consequence, all waste stored on the site had to be removed by January 9, 2015.

Environment Agency officers visited this land on January 14, 2015, and saw a large pile of partially crushed scrap vehicles covering around 1,000 square metres.

Armstrong said he was storing the vehicles until the price of scrap metal recovered sufficiently for him to make a profit and said he would bale the vehicles so they occupied less space in the compound.

He was reminded that the site needed to be cleared.

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During April and May 2015, further visits were made to the site. It had not been cleared, although the vehicles had been baled, reducing the storage area, and further progress had been made to clear the site.

The site was completely cleared by August 2015.

In interview, Armstrong said he was under the impression that Environment Agency officers had been agreeable to him baling and storing the vehicles until prices improved, but the officers disagreed with that statement.

The Environment Agency’s Rachael Caldwell, whose Waste North Team led the investigation, said: “He failed to clear the site by the date required and was clearly told by officers during their visits that he needed to remove the vehicles from the land as he had no permit.

“Permits are in place for a reason, to protect the environment and communities, and those who flout the law undermine legitimate businesses who work hard to work within their permits.”

Anyone who has information about waste crimes can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.