Kent waste operator gets eight months in prison for illegal waste transfer activities

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:
Construction waste stored illegally at K M Millen Grab Hire in Sittingbourne, Kent

​The operator of a waste site in Sittingbourne, Kent has been imprisoned for eight months for the illegal disposal, sorting and treatment of construction demolition waste.

John Millen, aged 50, trading as K M Millen Grab Hire, received the custodial sentence at Maidstone Crown Court after pleading guilty to using the Gas Road site for illegal waste transfer activities.

The Environment Agency brought charges against Millen following an investigation in December 2014 which established that over 40,000 tonnes of waste had been illegally deposited on the site.

According to the Environment Agency, Millen was subsequently provided with clear guidance on the action he was required to take and an enforcement notice to clear the waste from the site by the end of March 2015 was issued. However, after the three months had expired the Environment Agency said it was clear that none of the waste had been removed and Millen continued to crush, treat and deposit waste.

The activities being undertaken by Millen were reported to be in clear breach of environmental legislation and would have required an environmental permit, however the Environment Agency said Millen did not apply for an appropriate environmental permit and continued to operate, avoiding significant costs to his business.

Alan Cansdale, environment manager at the Environment Agency, said: “Mr Millen was fully aware that he was not allowed to store that amount of waste on the site, but continued to accept more construction and demolition waste whilst ignoring the advice and guidance issued to him by Environment Agency officers. His actions put the environment at risk.

“Waste crime can undermine legitimate businesses, so we work closely with businesses to help them comply with the law. In cases like this, where illegal operations are connected to licensed businesses, we have no hesitation in prosecuting those involved. We want to make sure that waste crime doesn’t pay,” added Cansdale.

While passing sentence, Judge St. John-Stevens said that Millen was the “controlling mind of the business” and he ignored all advice offered from the Environment Agency regarding his business operations.

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