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Defendants Sentenced for Fires Caused by Negligent Waste Storage

Six waste operators who consistently disregarded Environment Agency advice about fire risks at their sites have been sentenced following a thorough investigation. The resulting fires raged for days, leading to significant penalties including prison sentences totalling 6.5 years and fines exceeding £103,000.

Defendants Sentenced For Fires Caused By Negligent Waste Storage

The sentencing took place at Teesside Crown Court on Monday, May 20. The defendants were found guilty of multiple environmental offences at three sites:

Defendants Sentenced For Fires Caused By Negligent Waste Storage

  1. Greenology (Liverton) Ltd, Liverton near Loftus:
    • Laura Hepburn, 44, of Stonebridgegate, Ripon, and director of Greenology (Liverton) Ltd, and Jonathan Guy Brudenell, 54, of no fixed address, were involved in waste storage issues that led to a fire in April 2020.
    • Selective Environmental Solutions Ltd (SESL) and its director Jonathan Waldron, 42, of Winton in Northallerton, previously operated at this site, illegally depositing waste at a farm near Whitby.
  2. Old Eldon Brickworks, Eldon, Bishop Auckland:
    • Waldron, as a director of Falcons Two Ltd, failed to comply with an enforcement notice, resulting in a major fire in August 2020.
  3. Greenology (Teesside) Ltd, Sotheby Road, Skippers Lane Industrial Estate, Middlesbrough:
    • Hepburn was also sentenced for offences in 2021 and 2022 related to illegal waste tyre storage.

The court heard that despite repeated warnings from the Environment Agency, the defendants failed to manage the waste and fire risks at these sites adequately. In an attempt to protect the Greenology name, Hepburn even changed the company name to LM South Yorkshire Ltd in 2021 after being notified of the prosecution.

Defendants Sentenced For Fires Caused By Negligent Waste Storage

Sentences:

Defendants Sentenced For Fires Caused By Negligent Waste Storage

  • Jonathan Guy Brudenell: Jailed for 2 years and 10 months.
  • Laura Hepburn: Sentenced to 2 years in prison, suspended for 2 years, with 150 hours of unpaid community work.
  • Jonathan Waldron: Sentenced to 20 months in prison, suspended for 2 years, with probation supervision, rehabilitation requirements, and 150 hours of unpaid community work. He was also ordered to pay £9,000 in costs.
  • Greenology (Liverton): Fined £69,000.
  • Greenology (Teesside): Fined £20,000.
  • SESL: Fined £14,666.66.

Environmental Impact: The Environment Agency’s Gary Wallace emphasized the severity of the offences, noting the significant environmental damage and community distress caused by the fires. The fires at the Liverton site in April 2020 and the Eldon site in August 2020 burned for several days, severely impacting local residents, especially during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Defendants Sentenced For Fires Caused By Negligent Waste Storage

Investigation Details: SESL initially operated at the Liverton site from December 2018 to February 2019, quickly breaching waste storage limits. After internal conflicts, Hepburn established Greenology (Liverton) Ltd in February 2019, with Brudenell continuing in a management role under the alias Guy Barker. Despite enforcement actions, the site was overwhelmed with waste plastic by late 2019, leading to the devastating fire in April 2020.

Defendants Sentenced For Fires Caused By Negligent Waste Storage

Waldron’s involvement with Falcons Two Ltd at the Old Eldon Brickworks site was marked by persistent non-compliance with environmental permits, resulting in another major fire in August 2020.

Defendants Sentenced For Fires Caused By Negligent Waste Storage

At the Greenology (Teesside) site, Hepburn’s claims about building a pyrolysis plant for recycling tyres were unfounded. The site continued to handle excessive waste, posing a significant fire risk.

Conclusion: The sentences reflect the seriousness of the defendants’ actions and their disregard for environmental laws, demonstrating the Environment Agency’s commitment to holding waste criminals accountable for their actions.

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