[2009] EWHC 1541 (Admin)

Milton Keynes Council has successfully appealed a magistrates’ court decision that a leisure centre business had no case to answer following a prosecution under section 34(1)(b) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (the EPA).

An environmental officer for the Council discovered a large amount of rubbish around the defendant’s rubbish compactor. The Council unsuccessfully pursued a prosecution in the magistrates’ court alleging the defendant had breached its duty under the EPA to prevent the escape of waste from its control. The Council appealed to the High Court where it was found that the defendant had not taken all reasonable measures open to it to prevent the escape of waste. On its own the presence of the compactor did not discharge the defendant’s duty under the EPA. The matter was sent back to the magistrates’ court to be heard again.

The case is a reminder to all businesses of the importance of controlling waste that they produce. The existence of waste disposal facilities will not on their own be sufficient. Organisations should ensure should they provide and subsequently manage and monitor their waste disposal systems.