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A Medway based business has been fined following the discovery of a large-scale fly-tip on land next to the A2 in Northfleet.

The Chatham business owner’s company has been fined and ordered to pay costs after admitting to failing in its duty of care to conduct relevant checks to prevent fly tipping offences and that controlled waste being carried by his company was to a licensed waste carrier.

Daniel Kernahan’s company also failed to carry out checks that land being used to store, treat and dispose of controlled waste had the relevant Environment Agency permits and exemptions.  

The case followed an investigation by Gravesham Borough Council’s Environmental Enforcement team after the discovery of a large-scale fly-tip on land next to the A2 in Northfleet.

On 7 May, Kernahan, appearing before Folkestone magistrates on behalf of Kernahan Contractors Ltd, pleaded guilty to two charges of failing in the company’s duty of care in relation to controlled waste under section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Magistrates heard that in April 2022, Kent Fire and Rescue Service reported an illegal waste transfer site on Highways England land next to the A2 in Northfleet having been called to deal with fires that had been set to destroy the waste.

Officers from Gravesham Borough Council’s Environmental Enforcement Team visited the site and although no one was there, they found a large amount of waste had been dumped. 

A search uncovered items which linked it to several companies and individuals across Kent. Investigations found that some of them had used Kernahan Contractors Ltd to remove waste, believing it would be disposed of lawfully.

Kernahan, the owner of the company, was invited for interview and told officers he had been approached by an unknown male who had offered to dispose of waste for him at a lower than usual cost. He met with him at a petrol station and followed him to an isolated field near the A2 in Northfleet.

Despite the site not being a registered waste processing station, Kernahan Contractors Ltd deposited a large amount of waste there expecting it to be processed.

At his hearing Kernahan pleaded guilty on behalf of the company to the two charges and was fined £8,000 and prosecution costs of £1,500. Nominal compensation to the companies and individuals affected by the company’s actions was also ordered.

Speaking after the case, Cllr Shane Mochrie-Cox, Gravesham Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Strategic Environment, said: “I’d like to praise the work of our investigators who traced it to Kernahan and brought him before the courts.

“It reinforces the message that no matter how big or how small the incident, if we uncover evidence that leads us to those behind fly tipping, we will pursue them using all the legal powers at our disposal.

“The message is clear – we do not tolerate fly tipping in Gravesham and those who think they can get away with it should know as a council we will do all we can to ensure environmental crime doesn’t pay.”

Published: Thursday, 9th May 2024