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Scrap firm’s ‘poor waste handling’ caused air pollution

J&J Stanley ordered to pay fines and costs totalling more than £6,000 relating to release of chemical fumes from scrap pile

A Tyne and Wear metals recycling firm has been fined £3,000 over an air pollution incident that caused disruption to residents and businesses in Swalwell.

J&J Stanley Ltd was sentenced at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court yesterday (April 29), following an emission of chemical fumes from its site on Longrigg Road, Swalwell, two years ago.

Environment Agency officers investigating the J&J Stanley site

Environment Agency officers investigating the J&J Stanley site

The court heard that local police and fire services received reports of a strong chemical smell in the vicinity of the firm’s premises on the evening of April 26 2012 – which led to police closing nearby roads to vehicles and pedestrians and advising residents to keep windows and doors shut.

Investigation

Chris Bunting, prosecuting on behalf of the Environment Agency, told the court that Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service attended the scene with six pumping appliances and specialist incident support units.

The Environment Agency tracked the source of the smell to a 10-tonne pile of aluminium waste, a recyclable residue known as dross, which had been deposited in the company’s yard.

Officers investigating the site claimed that they could smell a chemical odour in the air, and hear a fizzing sound, indicating that a chemical reaction was taking place in the pile. It was alleged that the waste pile had been left uncovered and exposed to rainfall, which may have caused the reaction.

In court, J&J Stanley admitted an offence of depositing controlled waste in a manner likely to cause pollution or harm to human health.

Commenting after the case, Sophie Webster, environment management team leader at the Environment Agency, said: “The chemical odour that the Swalwell community experienced in April 2012 was strong and unpleasant. The emission of the fumes affected residents and businesses, and the emergency services spent valuable time and effort responding to the incident to ensure that people were not put at risk.

“J&J Stanley’s poor handling of its waste aluminium was the cause of the pollution, and as such this incident could have been avoided, had the appropriate procedures been followed.â€?

When contacted by airqualitynews.com the company declined to comment.

In addition to the fine, J&J Stanley was ordered to pay £3,015 in costs and a victim surcharge of £120.

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