Salvage Wire

Salvage Wire
Helping Automotive recyclers become leaders in their industry

Friday, 22 June 2012

Prosecuting illegal scrap yards

Illegally dismantling vehicles and loading them for export has cost a Peterborough vehicle dismantler a fine of £2,000and a contribution to prosecution costs of £1,700.

A man, who operated an illegal scrap yard on land at Cemetery Road in Kearsley, has been ordered to pay £10,000 for his illegal operations after being prosecuted by the Environment Agency at Preston Crown court.

The owner of a Devon recycling company has been ordered to pay £2,590 in costs after he was caught illegally exporting used car tyres to Vietnam.

A Bristol man who ran an illegal scrapyard in the city has been given a suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay £13,000 costs in a case brought by the Environment Agency.

A Harrogate man was remanded in custody yesterday (1 March), awaiting sentencing after being convicted of storing scrap cars

Just some of the successful prosecutions that the UK Environment Agency have brought against illegal operators so far this year, but is the message getting out to the Auto Recycling industry that flouting the law means they will be caught and prosecuted? I don’t think so.

This was all I could find on the Environment Agency site for this year – 5 successful prosecutions, and one of those is slightly dubious because it involves tyres and the vast majority of those tyres would have come from tyre shops rather than end of life vehicles!
And the level of prosecution – not enough, it won’t force these offenders to suddenly comply with the law and be fully regulated – it only means that they have lost a bit of profit and will go back to their normal practices as soon as possible. The exception is the Harrogate man who was held in custody, he is only there because it was his second offence!

More problematic is the length of time it takes to bring these cases to court, a number of them relate to offences committed during 2010 and one case goes back to 2007, and in most cases these operations will have continued in business.
I know that there is a need to build a suitable case for prosecution, but surely it is time to change the regulation of the industry and bring in quicker and more effective prosecutions.

If the Environment Agency finds an illegal scrapyard they should be able to apply a spot fine to the business that (at minimum) equals the cost of the appropriate licence that the business has avoided paying, and then there should be an enforcement notice that gives the owner a suitable period of time to clean up the operation – 14 days for example - followed by a site visit to check the clean up, and the authority to seal the gates of the yard shut immediately if no action has been taken. Then the E Agency can initiate the appropriate legal process.

So the illegal operator has been fined, given time to clean up his business, had his business shut down and taken to court, a sequence of events that reassures legal operators that the E Agency are proactive and determined to root out illegal operations, and either make them compliant or close them down.

No comments: