Two directors of The Tyre Waste Team Limited have been handed suspended prison sentences after an investigation uncovered a “significant fire risk” at two illegal sites in Bradford and Calderdale.
Some time ago, Tyre and Rubber Recycling was approached about a potentially illegal tyre yard in Luddenden Foot, Halifax. A neighbour was wanting to complain about tyres being stored in the yard close to his house.
Tyre and Rubber Recycling looked at the site at the time, which had a T8 Exemption, and could see no obvious breach of the rules, apart from some tyres dumped at its entrance. We advised the complainant to speak to the local environmental health and Environment Agency.
Now, two of the directors of the operating company The Tyre Waste Team, have been sentenced for breaches of environmental rules.
A third person who ran an end-of-life vehicle site and who processed tyres supplied by the company has also received a suspended sentence.
The sites, at Fairlea Mills at Luddendenfoot, Calderdale and in Ashley Lane, Shipley, Bradford, were discovered during a joint operation by the Environment Agency (EA), Calderdale Council, Bradford Council and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue.
The Fairlea ELV vehicle site was operated by Shakil Ahmed under a T8 environmental permit. The Tyre Waste Team Limited, run by directors Jamie Craggs and Levi Depass, supplied tyres to Ahmed for treatment.
The company operated at the site under a T8 exemption. The investigation revealed the tonnage of tyres “significantly exceeded” the 40 tonnes limit laid out in the exemption.
When served with an enforcement notice, The Tyre Waste Team relocated to a site at Shipley under another T8 exemption.
This was considered to be a significant fire risk.
The investigating officers said in addition to the exemption limit being exceeded, there were no fire breaks between piles. With homes and businesses nearby both sites, the impact from a fire would have been serious.
A prosecution was brought to Bradford Crown Court. Ahmed, aged 42, of Spinners Close, Halifax, Craggs, aged 34, of Sedbergh Close, Bradford, and Depass, aged 35, of West Royd Road, Shipley, pleading guilty.
Ahmed was sentenced to ten months imprisonment suspended for 18 months, 250 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £2,500 in costs. He had a further offence taken into consideration for offending between June 2021 and December 2022.
Craggs and Depass were both sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, 250 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £2,500 in costs.
The Tyre Waste Team Limited was fined £10,000 fine and ordered to pay costs of £2,500.
Ben Hocking, EA environment manager, said: “This case was the culmination of a joint campaign between the Environment Agency, the local councils and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service to target sites where the risk of fire could have resulted in a significant impact on the environment and harm to human health.”
Jenny Lynn, Calderdale Council cabinet member for public services and communities, said: “The scale of punishment in this very serious case of environmental crime is a positive outcome for local residents and the whole borough.
“Our zero-tolerance approach prompted the Council’s enforcement action against the business in 2022, when we became aware of a major fire risk on site. We immediately served a Community Protection Notice, which prohibited the site from being used and required the business to remove the tyre and other waste to mitigate the fire risk.”
This case joins others as a clear example of why the T8 exemptions need to be removed to minimise the ease of abuse of the system.