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Firm and farmer fined for waste illegally used as flood defence

Waste company TJ Cottis Transport, one of its directors and a tenant farmer involved in the illegal deposit of waste as a flood defence on protected land in an Essex village have been ordered to pay a total of £19,430.

Chelmsford Magistrates Court heard that 3,920 tonnes of inert waste were deposited on land at Little Hayes Farm, Stow Maries, breaching a waste exemption. The work was also carried out without a flood defence consent or permission from Natural England.

The area is within an environmentally sensitive area which benefits from protection as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a Special Protection Area, a Special Area of Conservation and RAMSAR site.

The court was told that the site did not comply with the U1 exemption which only allows 1,000 tonnes of soil and stones to be used for construction purposes. Almost four times this amount was deposited onto the land between April 15 and May 8, 2015, before the activity was stopped by Natural England and the Environment Agency (EA).

On August 3, 2017, Simon Hollington pleaded guilty to knowingly causing the illegal deposit, and TJ Cottis Transport and Jedd Cottis (a director of the company) both pleaded guilty to depositing the waste without an environmental permit and failing to comply with duty of care requirements.

Miriam Tordoff, prosecuting for the EA, told the court the waste was deposited there in an attempt to strengthen the existing flood defence at this location. The material used was construction and demolition waste from development sites and TJ Cottis Transport’s own permitted waste treatment facility. The waste consisted of mainly soil and stones but also included concrete, brick, plastic, glass, wood and plasterboard. It was not suitable for the construction of flood defences.

Hollington employed TJ Cottis to deliver waste to land at Little Hayes Farm, Stow Maries. The company paid Hollington £4,800 to deposit the waste. The company accepted that it saved £24,000 in landfill charges by depositing the waste on Hollington’s land.

Tordoff explained that following the EA’s request to remove the waste Hollington had now applied for an environmental permit to do this. The waste is expected to be removed later this year.

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