A Scottish company has been fined almost $80,000 for illegally storing waste on its property. Such fines are not unusual. What is unusual that, for the first time in Scotland and, as far as GallonDaily is aware, for the first time in much of the developed world, the company has had the property where the offences occurred confiscated under proceeds of crime legislation.
In this particular case the property does not contain any buildings and was apparently used only for the illegal storage of scrap metals, liquid, tires, and batteries. The property was worth only about $60,000. However, the precedent has been set and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency intends to go after chronic other environmental offenders in the same manner.
The owner of the property could not claim that he did not see this coming. SEPA states that it tried to work with the company but that agreed compliance deadlines were not met. The Scottish Government established an Environmental Crime Taskforce in 2011 to deal with the issue of organised crime operating in the environment sector, be it stolen equipment found at landfill sites, money laundering at unlicensed scrap yards or illegal dumping of industrial chemicals. Its final report and recommendations are due to be given to the Minister within the next few weeks. GallonDaily will be reporting.
Some information about the Environmental Crime Taskforce is at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Environment/waste-and-pollution/environmental-crime-taskforce
The announcement of the Taskforce, including rationale for its establishment, is at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2011/11/10133202
Information regarding use of proceeds of crime legislation in the case of illegal storage of wastes on land in the town of Duns, Scotland, is at http://www.sepa.org.uk/about_us/news/2013/borders_company_handed_first.aspx