NuGen Properties

Bellway fined £100k for waste offence

Bellway Homes imported waste soil – containing wood, metal, wire cables, rubber, plastic and vehicle tyres – on to its St Mary’s Park housing development near Stannington.

It submitted an enforcement undertaking to the Environment Agency, which has now been accepted. An enforcement undertaking is a voluntary offer made to make amends for offences, and usually includes a donation to an environmental charity to carry out improvements in the local area.

Bellway Homes will pay £50,000 to Northumberland Wildlife Trust, £30,000 to Wear Rivers Trust and £20,000 to Tyne Rivers Trust.

The Environment Agency discovered that, between 22nd November and 12th December 2017, Bellway imported around 2,688 cubic metres of contaminated waste soil on to the site from one of its developments at nearby Five Mile Park. It said this was to build a soil bund around an attenuation pond.

In February 2019 an Environment Agency officer attended the site after receiving a report of illegal waste activity. An enforcement notice was subsequently issued, making Bellway remove the waste from the pond area. It was moved to another area of the site and then on to a permitted waste facility for disposal during July and August 2020.

Bellway Homes claimed that  its consultants had said it was allowed to import the soil without any authorisation.

As part of the enforcement undertaking requirements, Bellway Homes is also required to improve its awareness of the law in relation to soils and waste and review its protocols.

Andrew Turner, area environment manager for the Environment Agency, said: “Despite being a large and experienced housebuilder Bellway claimed it followed the advice of a consultancy which said it was appropriate to import the contaminated soil.

“We know the waste material being left on site for such a long period of time caused distress to local residents and this has since been cleared.

“While we will always take forward prosecutions in the most serious cases, Enforcement Undertakings are an effective enforcement tool to allow companies to put things right and contribute to environmental improvements. It also supports the prevention of repeat incidents by companies improving their procedures to ensure future compliance with environmental requirements.”

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