THE director of a waste management company in Bridgwater has been fined over £10,000 after his company failed to remove excess waste by order of the Environment Agency.

Robert Clegg, 34, director of Erwin Rhodes Ltd on Colley Island Industrial Estate, was fined £4,622 and ordered to pay costs of £6,351 on Tuesday, January 30, after he admitted one charge of breaching an environmental permit and another of breaching an enforcement notice.

The case was brought forward by the Environment Agency - and it was found that although the charges were brought against the company, the offences were with the consent or connivance of Mr Clegg.

During a hearing at Taunton Magistrates' Court, the magistrates were told that the company was a permitted waste transfer station.

Between January 2015 and August 2022, 54 of its 61 Compliance Assessment Reports showed breaches to conditions, by taking in more waste than allowed, resulting in a build-up of incorrectly stored and unprocessed waste.

An inspection by Environment Agency officers in April 2022 found waste spilling out of a polythene roofed temporary building, and uncovered skips filled with mixed household waste.Bridgwater Mercury: Mixed household waste spilling out of a temporary building on the site.Mixed household waste spilling out of a temporary building on the site. (Image: Environment Agency)

Clegg was told that storing inert waste outside of a building was a breach of the company’s permit, and was given two months to remove and dispose of the waste as a result.

However, when officers returned two months later, the amount of waste appeared to have increased, and an enforcement notice was issued ordering its removal within a month, along with proof of the relocation of the waste via transfer notes.

When an officer returned once again a month later, not only had the notice not been complied with, but an open skip containing objects wrapped in plastic and marked “biohazard” was discovered.

Clegg said he did not know what the waste was - so the officer recorded a number of permit breaches, including not having a technically competent manager on site.Bridgwater Mercury: Clegg was deemed 'not technically competent' after a fourth visit from the Environment Agency.Clegg was deemed 'not technically competent' after a fourth visit from the Environment Agency. (Image: Environment Agency)

The following week, Clegg was given a suspension notice closing the site to all business, however this was soon lifted as Clegg was found to have complied with the orders four days later.

During an interview, Clegg admitted breaching permit requirements and failing to comply with the enforcement notice, which he said was due to cash flow problems.

Following the case, a spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: “The company failed to be mindful of the restrictions placed on it by its environmental permit, which are there for good reason.

"Then the company failed to put things right when told to do so.

"These were flagrant breaches, and the company has now rightly been brought to book.”