West Sussex Firms Convicted of Illegal Waste Dumping at Rusper Golf Club

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Home Breaking West Sussex Firms Convicted of Illegal Waste Dumping at Rusper Golf Club

West Sussex Firms Convicted of Illegal Waste Dumping at Rusper Golf Club

A pair of West Sussex firms, along with the owners of Rusper Golf Club, have been convicted of illegally dumping waste at the golf course near Gatwick Airport. The district judge presiding over the case described their behaviour as “reckless,” resulting in fines totalling £38,000.

West Sussex Firms Convicted Of Illegal Waste Dumping At Rusper Golf Club

The Discovery

West Sussex Firms Convicted Of Illegal Waste Dumping At Rusper Golf Club

An anonymous tip-off led the Environment Agency to uncover almost 700 lorry-loads of waste that had been dumped illegally at Rusper Golf Club in Newdigate, near Dorking. The investigation revealed a disturbing pattern of waste disposal that violated environmental regulations.

West Sussex Firms Convicted Of Illegal Waste Dumping At Rusper Golf Club

West Sussex Firms Convicted Of Illegal Waste Dumping At Rusper Golf Club

The Involved Parties

West Sussex Firms Convicted Of Illegal Waste Dumping At Rusper Golf Club

  1. Rusper Leisure Ltd: Based in Worthing, Rusper Leisure Ltd allowed two other companies to offload waste at the golf course. None of this waste had approval from the Environment Agency. Rusper Leisure had originally obtained planning permission to raise part of an embankment on the driving range by 2 meters to catch stray golf balls. However, the agreement with Mole Valley District Council stipulated the use of clean soil only.
  2. Cook and Son Ltd: A Crawley-based haulier, Cook and Son Ltd, along with Bell and Sons Construction Ltd, of Faygate, were responsible for dumping the waste. They paid Rusper Leisure £100 per load for the tonnes of waste left on and around the greens during the second half of 2018.

The Extent of the Problem

West Sussex Firms Convicted Of Illegal Waste Dumping At Rusper Golf Club

Investigators from the Environment Agency found that the waste piles contained a mix of materials, including glass, wood, plastic, tarmac, brick, and concrete. These materials were not only dumped on the golf course but also stockpiled close to woods on the edge of the property and in the club’s car park. Builders’ waste was even mixed in with some of the soil.

West Sussex Firms Convicted Of Illegal Waste Dumping At Rusper Golf Club

Lack of Due Diligence

West Sussex Firms Convicted Of Illegal Waste Dumping At Rusper Golf Club

Jamie Hamilton, the senior environmental crime officer leading the investigation, emphasised that companies must ensure the Environment Agency authorizes any waste tipping in advance. Unfortunately, both Cook and Son Ltd and Bell and Sons failed to conduct meaningful checks to verify that the golf course could legally accept the waste.

Permit Issues

When interviewed, Rusper Leisure’s company secretary, Sara Blunden, claimed she believed planning permission from Mole Valley was sufficient for waste disposal. Duncan Bell, a director with Bell and Sons, neglected to check if an environmental permit was needed. Christopher Cook of Cook and Son admitted that his drivers left waste on the course without verifying the site’s permit status.

Crucial Paperwork Missing

The investigation also revealed that waste transfer notes, which track material movement, lacked crucial details. Many of the hundreds of dockets seen by the Environment Agency did not describe the waste, specify its placement on the course, or indicate whether it was hazardous.

Legal Consequences

District Judge Tessa Szagun handed down fines as follows:

  • Rusper Leisure Ltd: £2,000 for running a waste operation at the golf club without an environmental permit (with additional costs of £3,000).
  • Cook and Son Ltd: £24,000 for dumping banned waste (with costs of £12,500).
  • Bell and Sons Construction Ltd: £12,000 (with costs of £8,000).
  • All three companies were also given victim surcharge fees of £170.

The Environment Agency charged Rusper Leisure Ltd with breaching regulation 12(1)(a) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 for not having an environmental permit.

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