Firm and person in control of land fined after vegetable washings pollute watercourse in the Fens

A firm has been fined after potato washings polluted a watercourse Picture: Archant

A firm has been fined after potato washings polluted a watercourse Picture: Archant

Spreading and storing excessive amounts of vegetable washings on a farm led to gross pollution of a watercourse a court was told.

DEM (King's Lynn) Ltd stored too much highly polluting waste in a lagoon and spread too much onto land controlled by Trevor William Sieley, leading to run off and pollution, King's Lynn Magistrates heard.

Storage and spreading of waste on the land at Poplar farm in Outwell, near Downham Market.

The company was illegal and magistrates fined both the person in control of the land and the company. Trevor Sieley, who had received a warning letter and previous offences for similar actions, was fined £1,920 and ordered to pay costs of £10,041 as well as a victim surcharge of £170.

Sieley had denied knowingly allowing the illegal waste operation but the court found him guilty.

DEM, which pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to spreading the waste illegally, was fined £3,667, ordered to pay £7,666 and a victim surcharge of £170.

Gurjit Bdesha, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, said the company had deposited and stored waste at the site for almost two years under an exemption, which did not cover the level of operations.

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Waste vegetable washings were stored and spread on 3.99 hectares of land at Poplar Farm in Outwell. The exemption allowed for waste produced only on the farm to be spread but waste potatoes and washings were brought from two companies onto the site.

Sieley had registered an exemption to spread waste on agricultural land to improve soil quality but failed to comply with its conditions.

Environment Agency officers visited the site in April 2015 after reports from Nordelph Internal Drainage Board that a slurry pit was polluting nearby watercourses. They found heaps of potatoes stored in the field, straw bale walls of the lagoon decomposing and effluent leaking into a ditch. In June they told the company to stop work and clear up the site by 1 October but no action was taken.

The court heard that in 2007 Sieley was the sole director of another company that was involved in a similar incident on land at Outwell which resulted in his previous conviction and in 2005 was issued with a warning letter for the disposal of potato wash water on to land without a waste management licence.

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