A leading waste management company was handed a £55,000 fine recently following its’ poor handling of asbestos. Derby Magistrates found that by not managing the asbestos in the correct manner this posed the environment, public and staff to a risk of harm.

The action was brought by the Environment Agency under Section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

The action came about following a visit by Environmental Officers in May 2007 who found bagged and sheet asbestos laying exposed in Elvaston Quarry, Bellington Hill, near Shardlow Derbyshire. Despite requests to clean up the area and properly handle the asbestos material this was implemented following a further inspection.

Speaking after the case, Mark Cunningham an Environment Agency Team leader said:

“This persistent mishandling of asbestos plainly created a serious risk of asbestos fibre’s escaping and seems to have arisen from a combination of poorly trained staff and inadequate management on the part of Biffa. I hope todays result sends a clear message that we wont hesitate to take strong action against anyone who shows a disregard for public health or environment. I would like to reassure local residents and the public in general that we found no evidence that asbestos escaped the site”.

Asbestos is an extremely substance and there are strict guidelines upon its removal and destruction.