“When it comes to disposing of your company’s waste, the law is very strict and the consequences of breaking it are extremely tough”, warns Graham Davies, Senior Partner at Martin Kaye. He said that a court case against a Wirral-based firm which disposed of hazardous waste in Shropshire, Yorkshire and Lancashire, has brought the rules into sharp focus. “In the court case involving the waste dumped in Shropshire, the managing director of the firm admitted eight offences and was sent to prison for 18 months,” said Graham.
However, Graham went on to warn that directors of companies must also take care that anyone who handles their business waste is properly licensed. “As a director, you have a duty of care to ensure waste taken away from your company premises is collected and disposed of properly by a legitimate waste contractor. If you allow just anyone to take it away, particularly if its hazardous waste, you could be held liable and face fines of up to £20,000.”
Graham said not only must directors check how their company waste was being handled, but they must also keep full records of anything taken away. “Don’t think you can take the easy option either of just setting up your own disposal area in a corner of your company yard and pile up the rubbish there. You’ll need a licence from the Environment Agency which will include rules on setting up and running a site, including how much and what types of waste you can deal with. This court case is a clear warning that company directors must be fully aware of just how the waste their business produces is handled, and that they will be held personally responsible if things are not dealt with properly.”
The message therefore is clear: your company’s waste is your company’s responsibility, even once it has left your premises, so you have to do everything you can to make sure it is not being dumped illegally, or else it could be traced back to you.
For more information about Martin Kaye solicitors visit http://www.martinkaye.co.uk/