A greenhouse gas leak and the illegal burying of waste are among the incidents that saw Scotland’s environment watchdog issue £85,700 in fines in 2023.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) listed 15 fines issued across the country ranging from £300 for a building firm in Wick all the way up to £75,000 for a health food company.
DSM Nutritional Products landed the body’s biggest fine back in May when it became the first company in Scotland to be given a penalty for failing to install equipment to detect leaks of fluorinated gas (F-gas).
The business’s factory in Dalry, Ayrshire registered more than eight times the reporting threshold of F-gas – amounting to almost 900kg of CO2 equivalent.
SEPA said the release – which made DSM one of Scotland’s three biggest polluters – was caused by a leak in four of the firm’s water chillers.
DSM said it regretted the breach, which it said was unintentional, and took action to fix it straight away.
A man in Perthshire was issued with the watchdog’s second-biggest fine of £3,500 for illegally burying waste.
He was also required to pay SEPA costs of £1,050.
The agency visited James Roberts Marshall’s site in Dunning, Perth and Kinross where they found a variety of waste – including batteries, plastics, metals, packaging, cables, aluminium, chipboard, piping, fabrics, wood, paper and plasterboard – buried in the ground.
A portacabin and its contents were also put in the ground.
Jennifer Shearer, head of enforcement at SEPA, said: “Civil penalties are a vital part of our enforcement toolkit, providing a deterrence to those who choose to ignore Scotland’s environmental regulations.
“Enforcement action is a key part of our job as a regulator, ensuring we disrupt and take action against those who harm the environment, communities and legitimate businesses.”
Full list of breaches in 2023
Six £600 Fixed Monetary Penalties (FMPs) for disposing of controlled waste by burning.
- George Steel Contract Services Limited, Falkirk
- Stella’s Voice, Cranfield
- Ian Robert Munro, Alness
- The Good House Company Scotland Limited, Kinross
- Bradley Morgan, Kinross
- The Firm of D & J Thomson, Aberfeldy
Two £600 FMPs for breach of a water use licence relating to discharges of surface water from a construction site.
- Bellway Homes Limited, Newcastle Upon Tyne
- Tough Construction Limited, Glasgow
Two £600 FMPs for a discharge of sewage effluent to the water environment.
- Sands Caravan and Camping Limited, Wester Ross
- Robert Main Ellen, Muir of Ord
Three £300 FMPs.
- Anthony Barclay, Musselburgh for transporting controlled waste in the course of business, or otherwise with a view to profit, without a waste carrier licence.
- GMR Henderson Builders Limited, Wick for a failure to complete waste transfer notes adequately.
- Barry Bain, Inverness for a failure to attend a compelled interview.
Two Variable Monetary Penalties (VMPs).
- DSM Nutritional Products (UK) Limited, Dalry fined £75,000 for failing to provide a leakage detection system on equipment containing powerful greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere and contribute to climate change.
- James Roberts Marshall, Perth fined £3,500 for allowing controlled waste to be disposed of by burial when no waste management licence was in place authorising the activity. He was also required to pay SEPA costs of £1,050.
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