Waste firm fined for burning illegal rubbish

Michael Carrigan burned treated wood (Picture by William Warby)

A WASTE management firm has been fined £27,000 for dumping controlled materials and burning toxic waste.

Michael Carrigan junior, operating as AMC Salvage Recovery, pled guilty at Airdrie Sheriff Court on 26 October 2011, to two charges under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

He admitted disposing of waste – motor vehicles, vehicle parts, lead acid batteries, oils, scrap metal, paint pots and waste electrical and electronic equipment – in a way which was likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health.

Carrigan also admitted illegally disposing of treated wooden waste, including kitchen units and doors and polystyrene, by repeatedly burning them in the open air, thereby releasing heavy smoke and potentially releasing toxins into the atmosphere.

The offences took place near Muirhead, Glasgow, between 2007 and 2010.

Today, he was fined £22,500 (reduced from £25,000) for illegally depositing and keeping the vehicles and £4,500 (reduced from £5,000) for burning the toxic materials.

Area Procurator Fiscal Tom Dysart, who leads COPFS on wildlife and environmental crime, said: “The illegal dumping of waste materials on land – in this case vehicles and their parts – risks contaminating not only the land itself but also the groundwater, which would pose a significant risk to human health.

“The waste kitchen units and doors which were being burned in the open air contained preservatives, adhesives and plastic or polymer coating, all of which release toxic substances when burned. The vapour released by burning polystyrene is extremely toxic to human health when breathed in.

“Carrigan ignored advice and offers of assistance from SEPA over a number of years, and has run his business illegally ever since SEPA withdrew his licence in 2006.

“Offences like this also add to the burden of legitimate operators who pay the costs of dealing with waste properly and who are undercut by people like Mr Carrigan who run their business without these costs.

“COPFS takes a robust approach to any individual or company which choses to ignore the laws which are in place to protectScotland’s environment, and will continue to prosecute where appropriate.”