Samantha Riggs wins landmark case for the waste industry in the Court of Appeal
Samantha Riggs, representing Recycled Material Supplies Limited (RMS) instructed by Dr Anna Willetts of Slater and Gordon (UK) LLP, successfully appealed two convictions for breach of Regulation 12 and 38 of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 (EPR). The company pleaded guilty to breach of a Part B Mobile Plant permit issued by the London Borough of Newham (LBN) following a legal ruling rejecting the defence submissions that LBN had no jurisdiction to prosecute because activity being carried out on site, manufacturing of aggregates, was a waste operation and not a Part B activity. Accordingly, the activity was regulated by the Environment Agency (EA) and not the Local Authority. Further, the crushing plant used on site was an integral part of the waste operation and was not “mobile plant” within the meaning of the EPR. If, which was not accepted, it was mobile plant, it was waste mobile plant and therefore still regulated by the EA.
In a judgement handed down today, the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of RMS holding that there cannot be joint regulation of the same activity by the the EA and the Local Authority. The environmental permit (EP) issued by the EA regulated the activities being carried out at site and therefore the EP issued by LBN was invalid. LBN had no jurisdiction to issue its EP or to seek to impose the conditions it did while the plant in question was being operated as an integral and effectively permanent part of the waste operation at the site because the activities involved processing more than just tiles, bricks and concrete and were not Part B activities. On the assumption that the plant being used at the site was mobile plant at all, it was not being used to carry out a Part B activity but was being used to carry out a waste operation. It would therefore fall to be categorised as “waste mobile plant” and not within the sphere of LBN’s authority under Regulation 32(2)(b). The appeal was allowed on all three grounds and accordingly, both convictions quashed;  EWCA crim 58.
This appeal was supported by Technical advice from Leslie Heasman and Dr Mark Sudworth of MJCA.