Hillingdon haulage firm fined £34,000 for flagrantly ignoring enforcement notice
Thursday 14 April 2022: A Harefield haulage company has been ordered to pay almost £50,000 after flouting a legal notice from Hillingdon Council ordering it to stop illegally using the site to sort rubbish.
At the hearing on 11 April, the skip hire firm was fined £34,000 after admitting one charge of breaching of an enforcement notice and further ordered to pay £15,729 prosecution costs, and a £181 victim surcharge.
The court was told the council's planning department received reports in spring 2019 that a lot of work was going on at the site, which had been expanded, with trees and banks having been cleared.
Two subsequent site visits from council inspectors led to a planning enforcement notice being served that August, ordering that the unauthorised change of use cease immediately.
Inspections in June 2020 and January 2021 revealed the notice had not been complied with and in fact, at the latter inspection officers found a larger waste sorting machine had been brought onto the site.
Sentencing, District Judge Ikram, said: "I find high culpability: this was a deliberate breach, the Company had been forewarned, they carried on, and a large piece of plant arrived at the end of the period. It carried on for 15 months, and for profit."
The court was told that profit from waste sorting work was likely to be in the order of £30,000 to £40,000 and DJ Ikram used this criteria as the guideline for the imposed fine, but gave a 15 per cent discount for the guilty plea.
The court heard neighbours described crashing and grinding so loud one could not use her garden and the constant noise was causing them anxiety and potentially affecting the property value of their homes.
Perry Scott, Hillingdon Council's Director of Place, said: "Everyone in our borough should be able to live in their homes without having to endure constant disruption and anti-social behaviour.
"I commend the work done by officers in bringing a sound resolution on behalf of residents which I hope also highlights that we'll act in the strongest possible terms to take on those who chose to ignore the law in order to make money."