Former company director of Platinum Waste Solutions Limited, Sarah Nisbet, has been sentenced to undertake 200 hours unpaid work within a 6 month period and is subject to supervision for 18 months as an alternative to a custodial sentence, for breaching waste management legislation.
Ms Nisbet pled guilty on 5 June 2015 at Hamilton Sheriff Court to a charge of storing waste at the company’s site at Burnbrae Road, Shotts over the period 29 January to 5 August 2014, without the proper authorisation from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), while the company (now dissolved) pled guilty to a charge of failing to adequately complete Waste Transfer Notes for the transfer of waste on various dates between 1 October 2013 and 19 February 2014.
On 11 November 2016, Sarah Nisbet was also handed a Confiscation Order of £16,546.50 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
“The Scottish Government’s Serious Organised Crime Strategy highlights penetration by Serious Organised Crime Groups in legitimate business sectors as a new threat, specifically identifying the Waste Industry as a target of this criminal activity in Scotland”
A series of inspections carried out by SEPA officers in January 2014, found that skips full of mixed waste containing construction and demolition materials and household waste had been stored at the company’s site contrary to the requirements of the Waste Management Licensing exemptions registered for the site. In addition, many of the Waste Transfer Notes provided to SEPA by the company (in response to a notice served under Section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 requesting these) had not been filled in correctly, with important information such as the quantity of waste omitted.
A notice under Section 59 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 was served on Platinum Waste Solutions Limited which required the removal of all non-compliant waste from the site. However only some of the waste was removed by the company, therefore SEPA submitted a report to the Procurator Fiscal recommending the prosecution of both the company and Ms Nisbet.
Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 all parties who import, produce, keep or manage waste have a duty of care to ensure that accurate Waste Transfer Notes are completed containing details such as the type and quantity of waste transferred to minimise the risk of waste being deposited illegally.
Calum MacDonald, executive director, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), said: “The sentence that sends out a clear message that environmental crime in Scotland will not be tolerated. Compliance for regulated businesses is non-negotiable and we will continue to take proportionate and effective action to tackle and disrupt environmental crime activity that has or has the potential to damage the environment.
“This outcome is also a tangible demonstration of successful collaborative working with Police Scotland and early evidence of the benefits of SEPA embedding staff within the Scottish Crime Campus in Gartcosh. The Police led drugs operation, Operation Lapstone led to the conviction and sentencing on 9 October 2015 of James Nisbet and six others resulting in the recovery of £1.1m of illegal drugs and a combined sentence of 48 years and 10 months imprisonment of Nisbet and his associates. It was noted during these proceedings that Platinum Waste Solutions Limited in Shotts was being used as a ‘front’ to mask significant drug dealing activity.
“The Scottish Government’s Serious Organised Crime Strategy highlights penetration by Serious Organised Crime Groups in legitimate business sectors as a new threat, specifically identifying the Waste Industry as a target of this criminal activity in Scotland. Operation Lapstone provided clear evidence that that this threat is manifest and we will continue to work with the police and our other partners within the Environmental Crime Taskforce to tackle these individuals and groups to combat the threat posed on the legitimate industry within Scotland.”