A company based in Aylesbury Vale must pay a court bill of more than £20,000 after a trailer containing 56 tonnes of waste was abandoned in a lay-by.
Westside Land Ltd, of Wendover Road, Weston Turville, Aylesbury, was prosecuted by Buckinghamshire County Council after one of the firm’s drivers left the HGV trailer in Frith Hill, Great Missenden.
The company pleaded guilty at Wycombe Magistrates Court to an offence of failing in its legal duty of care regarding waste which was found abandoned on the public highway.
The court heard that on June 1, 2015 police found an HGV trailer packed with waste material with the side dangerously bowed out towards the road. They shut the lay-by on safety grounds and reported the matter to Buckinghamshire County Council as Highways Authority.
Arrangements were put in place by the council to deal with the trailer safely, and works took place on June 10 and 11, 2015. The condition of the trailer meant that it was unsafe to be towed and the waste had to be excavated from the top using a crane.
It was found to be rammed with over 56 tonnes of mixed wastes which meant that it had been vastly overloaded on its journey to the lay-by. It took two full days to dig it all out, and concerns that the trailer could collapse led to the temporary closure of the B485 on June 10 during this process.
The number plate on the trailer was not traceable, but examination of the waste led investigators to the waste processing site operated at that time by Westside Land Ltd at Chiltern View Nursery, Weston Turville.
At an investigative interview a director of Westside Land gave ‘no comment’ responses. The driver proved to be untraceable, despite contact details being provided to investigators by the company
At court the company denied any knowledge of the incident, and was unable to account for why a driver, apparently in error, had hauled such a grossly over-weight trailer some seven miles down the road in a dangerous condition before abandoning it in the lay-by.
However, the company admitted negligence and responsibility for the waste, while at the same time assuring the court that measures that had since been put in place to prevent such an incident happening again.
The Magistrates fined Westside Land Ltd £2,250, and ordered the company to pay compensation for the safe removal and disposal of the waste of £16,962. Prosecution costs were ordered to be paid in the sum of £952.99. A victim surcharge of £120 was also levied – making a total to pay of £20,284.99.
Mark Shaw, Buckinghamshire County Council Cabinet Member for Transportation, said: “The negligence in this incident could easily have put lives at risk, with a very unstable load abandoned next to a fast section of road.
“We are grateful that full compensation has been awarded here which means that the company has to pay for its failure rather than the council taxpayer being left to foot the bill. Thanks also go to the clean-up contractors who made the area safe.”