October 15, 2021 2.31 pm

Fee-dodging firm slapped with £7k Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust bill

A new type of punishment from the Environment Agency

By Local Democracy Reporter

A company has paid more than £7,000 towards North Lincolnshire nature reserves after failing to meet its recycling obligations.

Caswick Ltd, a Belton-based company which makes manhole ladders, had failed to meet the costs for six years.

All companies over a certain size which produce or use packaging are required to register with the Environment Agency, and are obliged to fund the recovery and recycling of packaging.

An investigation by the Environment Agency found Caswick Ltd had not done so in 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

An enforcement undertaking has been agreed by the parties to resolve the issue voluntarily without criminal proceedings.

Caswick Ltd has now made a payment of £7,450 to the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, which will be used for essential work at the Crowle Nature Reserve and Epworth Nature Reserve.

It has also paid the Environment Agency’s administration, investigation and legal costs.

Jake Richardson, senior technical officer for the Environment Agency, said: “Caswick has acknowledged that by failing to comply with the regulations, they avoided paying the Environment Agency’s annual registration fees and they did not fund the recovery and recycling of packaging waste.

“Enforcement undertakings enable businesses to address non-compliance under the Packaging Regulations, through a series of actions that ensure future compliance, and a financial contribution to a suitable environmental project.

“The aim of the Packaging Regulations is to reduce the amount of packaging waste that enters our landfill sites by requiring obligated businesses (producers) to contribute financially towards the recovery and recycling of packaging waste.

“The Environment Agency is increasingly using this method of enforcement for cases to restore or enhance the environment, improve practices of the offending business and ensure future compliance with environmental requirements. However, we will continue to pursue prosecution where appropriate.”

Paul Learoyd, chief executive of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, said: “The donation by Caswick Ltd has been used at our Crowle and Epworth Turbary nature reserves to undertake essential management works.

“Both nature reserves contain lowland peat bog habitat which is incredibly rare in the UK. These habitats need to be kept wet and free of woodland cover and so the work has included scrub control and the creation of structures that help hold the water back on site.”

Companies have legal responsibility as a packaging producer if they have a turnover of more than £2million and handle at least 50 tonnes of packaging a year.

Caswick didn’t meet these requirements in 2013 or 2016, so did not breach the regulations those years.

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