A WASTE management company has been heavily fined after an explosion at one of its recycling stations in Ruislip.
Bridgemarts Ltd breached its environmental permit in a blast at the Hillingdon Transfer Station in Civic Way, off Victoria Road, South Ruislip, in April 2011.
The company, which trades as Gowing and Pursey at the station, was fined s10,000 and told to pay costs of s5,237 at Uxbridge Magistrates Court on Tuesday last week (March 12).
The court heard that a lack of proper waste acceptance procedures resulted in gas bottle cylinders getting onto the site without being quarantined.
One of those cylinders found its way into a shredder which caused the explosion, resulting in workers and staff from a retail park being evacuated by the police and fire service.
No one was injured, but there was the potential to cause serious harm to the environment, staff and the public, the court was told.
The Environment Agency, who brought the prosecution, was unaware of the emergency incident until a few weeks later when it was notified by an anonymous report. Another gas cylinder was found adjacent to the shredder and two more were outside in a waste heap.
Bridgemarts admitted using the shredder without a permit, and to the consequences that followed.
The court was told that Bridgemarts was aware of the illegal activities at the site and did not take sufficient steps to ensure compliance with its permit. It threatened to dispose of waste illegally if the Environment Agency did not allow it to use a shed to store waste.
Senior Environment Officer Carolyn Barnes said the penalty "sends a clear message to waste operators that they must heed the advice and warnings of the Environment Agency to take effective steps to comply with their environmental permit."
Jack Biel, Bridgemarts Director and Technical Competent Manager, had charges against him dropped after he accepted a caution for the offence.
Bridgemarts were in court, and fined for a similar offence in December 2007.
The company was also said to have a history of breaching environmental permits, with six enforcements served between July 2005 and January 2012, as well as a caution in June 2012.