OUTWELL: Former parish councillor admits major breach of environment laws which caused fish to die
By MAGGIE GIBSON A FORMER West Norfolk parish councillor who owns a waste disposal company polluted water courses when he spread liquid waste on fields without permission. Trevor Sieley was a serving Outwell parish councillor when he illegally spread the
By MAGGIE GIBSON
A FORMER West Norfolk parish councillor who owns a waste disposal company polluted water courses when he spread liquid waste on fields without permission.
Trevor Sieley was a serving Outwell parish councillor when he illegally spread the waste which killed fish and led to residents protesting against smells and slimy grey or jet black water lying in fields. He lost his council seat in May 2007 after polling the least votes of all candidates.
MAT Waste Disposal Ltd and Sieley, its sole director, admitted breaching the Environmental Protection Act and the Water Resources Act at Wisbech Magistrates' Court on Friday.
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The hearing was adjourned to Crown Court for sentence and for a special hearing to consider certain disputed facts before sentencing at a date to be fixed.
The company, of Langhorns Lane, Outwell, collects and disposes of liquid waste but does not have either an exemption or an authorisation from the Environment Agency to carry out spreading on land at either Langhorns Lane or Town Drove, the court was told. But it spread waste at both sites.
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Sieley had moved part of the company's operation to lagoons at Town Drove after receiving a warning letter from the Environment Agency in 2005 for illegally spreading waste at a site in Walsingham Fen, Outwell.
Mrs Miriam Tordoff, prosecuting, said: "The impact of these unregulated waste activities and the associated water pollutions is significant. The impact on the affected watercourses and the ecosystems within them was serious, effectively leading to 100 per cent mortality in the watercourse at Langhorns Lane."
MAT Waste Disposal collected waste water from vegetable processing companies around the area. At Langhorns Lane the company stored it in a tank and then spread it on a field behind the offices. Sieley told investigating officers that solids settled at the bottom of the tank while the waste was stored and the liquid was then allowed to run off into the fields through a series of furrows.
He admitted that he had also collected waste from the septic tanks of family members to put into the mix at Langhorns Way.
Sieley said he had moved his operation from Walsingham Fen to Town Drove in 2005 and admitted that waste collected by the company had also been taken to Town Drove since January 2007. It was stored there in lagoons.
One of his vehicles was seen by Environment Agency officers carrying out surveillance leaving Langhorns Lane, collecting waste from a beetroot company and discharging a bright purple liquid containing parts of and whole small beetroot at Town Drove.
Mrs Tordoff said: "The field was thinly covered with liquid ranging from a light brown to a dark green and had a sewage odour. There was a significant amount of solid vegetable and fruit waste and plastic waste within the liquid such as cartons and other packaging material."
Sieley told investigators that he and the company had not intentionally caused pollution at both sites and had tried to stop it by putting down straw bales. In addition a trench was dug in the field at Langhorns Lane to catch the liquid and stop it getting into land drains and the watercourse.
He said he thought he could carry on his business until he had an exemption from the Agency but Mrs Tordoff told the court that had an application for an exemption been applied for at Langhorns Lane it is unlikely it would have been given.
She said an application for an exemption for Town Drove was subsequently refused on the basis that chemical analysis of the waste to be spread had not been provided to support the claim of agricultural benefit.
MAT Waste Disposal Ltd pleaded guilty to:
1 Between 23 January 2007 and 23 February 2007 causing poisonous, noxious or polluting matter, namely vegetable processing effluent, to enter controlled waters, namely an unnamed ditch watercourse at Town Drove, Outwell, contrary to the Water Resources Act 1991.
2 Between 23 January 2007 and 2 May 2007 keeping controlled waste, namely liquid vegetable processing effluent, in lagoons at Town Drove, Outwell, other than and in accordance with a waste management licence granted by the enforcing authority under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Sieley pleaded guilty to:
1 Between 23 January 2007 and 19 April 2007 MAT Waste Disposal Ltd did, with your consent or connivance or attributable to neglect on your part as a director of MAT Waste Disposal Ltd, cause poisonous, noxious or polluting matter, namely vegetable processing effluent, to enter controlled waters, namely an unnamed ditch watercourse at Langhorns Lane, Outwell, contrary to the Water Resources Act 1991.
2 On or before 24 January 2007 MAT Waste Disposal Ltd did, with your consent or connivance or attributable to neglect on your part as a director of MAT Waste Disposal Ltd, dispose of controlled waste, namely vegetable processing effluent, on land at Langhorns Lane, Outwell, other than and in accordance with a waste management licence granted by the enforcing authority contrary to the Environmental Protection Act 1990.