Biffa Waste Services Limited, one of the largest waste companies in Europe, was convicted after a two-week trial at Wood Green Crown Court. The company was fined £1.5 million for sending household waste to India and Indonesia. It is the largest fine imposed by the Crown Court for exporting waste material in breach of a ban on household waste. It is the second time that Biffa has been convicted of the same offence. Last time, in 2019, it was fined £350k.
The waste was labelled as “mixed paper” when in reality, it was household waste. The trial Judge, Shane Collery QC, quoting a line from a W S Gilbert song , called it “skimmed milk masquerading as cream”.
The 1000 tonnes of waste contained about 3000 used nappies, 25,000 items of clothing, 40,000 plastic bags, 50,000 tins as well as used condoms, medical items such as catheters.
Sailesh Mehta, who was instructed by Howard McCann of the Environment Agency, said to a Jury that Biffa had breached a law designed to protect the environment and future generations from pollution created by our unwanted household waste.
Sailesh Mehta prosecutes and defends large corporations and their directors in environmental, health and safety, and fire law cases.
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