A RECYCLING company has been fined £20,000 after it incorrectly stored waste on its site.

Armstrongs Environmental Services denied failing to comply with an enforcement notice and failing to comply with a condition on its environmental permit between November 2009 and January this year.

But the company, based in Chorley New Road, Horwich, was found guilty of both counts following a twoday trial at Bolton Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard waste on Armstrongs’ land had not been correctly stored and it could pollute water or cause a smell.

The Environment Agency said the waste should have been kept in sealed containers or inside a building or bay.

Jennie Frieze, prosecuting, told the court yesterday that the company has complied with the condition since it was found guilty on January 5.

She said: “The site has been cleaned up and the company is now complying with the permit. It appears that the clean-up operation was not as significant as one might have envisaged. We are pleased we have achieved our ultimate aim, which is to protect the environment.”

Paul O’Brien, defending, said: “There have been over 360 site inspections by officers from the Environment Agency prior to November 25, 2009, and there has not been any criticism by the Environment Agency.

“There is no evidence that the waste stored outside the permit actually polluted the environment.”

District Judge Paul Parr said: “The legislation is to protect the environment.

There is a need for companies to be alert and comply with regulations before reaching enforcements and prosecution.

“There is no evidence that this was calculated to maximise profits. There is more evidence that it was negligence.”

The company was fined £18,000 out of a maximum £50,000 for breaching the permit and £2,000 out of a maximum £5,000 for failing to comply with the enforcement notice.

The company was also ordered to pay £8,935 in costs.

Armstrongs chairman David Armstrong, speaking after the hearing, said the company had been prosecuted on a “technicality”.

He added: “We have a good working relationship with the Environment Agency and this will continue without any doubt at all.

“As to whether we are going to appeal — I will consider this over the next few days and make a decision accordingly.

“In the meantime, it is business as usual at Armstrongs.”