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HSE AND ENVIRONMENT AGENCY JOINT ACTION ON ASBESTOS

Firm fined for failing to manage asbestos on site and for illegal depositing

Libra Demolition Limited has been fined after failing to manage and monitor asbestos removal whilst principal contractor on a demolition project and for the illegal deposit of waste containing asbestos.

The cases arose from demolition of buildings at the former Vesuvius works in Worksop, Notts in 2008. A number of buildings contained notifiable asbestos, the removal of which should be declared to HSE and carried out by a licensed asbestos contractor.

The Environment Agency (EA) prosecuted under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, and the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2007 whilst HSE laid one charge under Regulation 22(1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 following a surveillance operation.

The EA charges related to the deposit of controlled waste, including asbestos, on land that without an Environmental Permit and failing to take adequate measures to prevent others committing an offence.

Environment agency discovered asbestos on tip

During this HSE and EA joint prosecution the Magistrates heard how the buildings were demolished with no records of the safe removal or disposal of the asbestos and no notifications for the removal. This came to light when the EA found debris from the Vesuvius site was found at an unlicensed waste disposal site.

Libra Demolition were fined a total of £13,500 in respect of the Environment Agency charges, and ordered to pay total costs of £10,000 and a victim surcharge of £15.

Environmental Crime Team Leader, Peter Rutherford, said:

“This was a complex and difficult investigation which took us across much of the UK but we were finally able to demonstrate that the responsibility for this crime lay at the door of Libra Demolition Ltd and Mr Frederick Newbury.

We hope this case will prove a deterrent to others who flout the law, putting the environment and people’s health at risk. We will not hesitate to prosecute when circumstances warrant it.”

Frederick Newbury pleaded guilty to a charge of knowingly permitting the keeping of this waste on his land at Leverton Road, Worksop. He was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay costs of £500 and a victim surcharge of £15.

Libra Demolition Limited also pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 22(1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. The company was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay total costs of £10,000. 

HSE Inspector Kevin Wilson said:

“Libra Demolition was the principal contractor for the demolition project and had control of the site. It is completely unacceptable for any firm to disregard its responsibilities in this way.

The firm neglected to manage and monitor the project so as to ensure the notifiable asbestos was removed safely under licensed conditions by a licensed contractor, and therefore failed in its legal obligations.

The dangers of asbestos are well known and contractors should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take enforcement action against any firm that ignores the law in this way.”

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