A Teesside firm has been fined after a foul odour drifted from its site caused four days of misery for a group of travellers.
BioConstruct NewEnergy Ltd, of Imperial Avenue, South Bank , was fined a total £19,670 at Teesside Magistrates' Court after pleading guilty to the failings.
Chris Bunting, prosecuting on behalf of the Environment Agency, told the Court that the plant, which produces electricity from various types of waste including food and liquids, had affected the nearby travellers’ site through odours drifting from the plant.
It happened as it underwent maintenance, causing up to four days of misery for the local residents, many deciding to move out because of the smell.
Environment Officers visiting the plant were told that overseas contractors were responsible.
However, Mr Bunting said the company had to take responsibility as it holds the environmental permit for the site, which requires the company to prevent or minimise pollution.
During the same inspection, officers discovered around 30 large containers of pink liquid which the company were storing illegally.
Only after the officers demanded tests be carried out could the company confirm that the liquid was non-hazardous.
Jamie Fletcher, Area Environment Manager for the Environment Agency, said: “The odours emitted were so intrusive that it made families from the nearby registered travelling community site actually leave their homes for over four weeks.
“We have to act when insufficient maintenance planning results in wide spread disruption and potential hazardous impact on the environment. All of these repercussions were preventable with appropriate management and consideration for people in the surrounding area.
“This case also proves how the Environment Agency will bring to court and prosecute companies who don’t take permit compliance seriously. These laws are in place for a reason, namely to keep people safe from harm and to protect the environment in which we live.”
In passing sentence on Thursday June 6, the Teesside Magistrates’ Court found the company to have been negligent and stressed that the fine needed to have an economic impact upon them.
The fines were reduced to reflect the company’s guilty pleas.