Flexible packaging printer Arrow Film Converters has been fined over £17,500 for operating without an Environmental Permit and allowing harmful emissions to be released into the local environment.
The Castleford, Wakefield, West Yorkshire-based business largely serves clients in the food packaging industry.
Wakefield Council said that the company’s failure at the time to install an abatement plant capable of reducing emissions by up to 90% meant that in excess of 270 tonnes of organic solvent was being released directly into the atmosphere.
Organic solvents contribute to global climate change and the generation of photochemical smog.
The business was first investigated in April 2018 and one of the council’s environmental protection officers worked with the business towards the submission of an application for the Environmental Permit.
However, by autumn 2019, no application had been made and the business had stopped communicating with the council, which decided to initiate a prosecution for the offence of operating without a permit.
At a hearing in February 2020, guilty pleas were submitted on behalf of the business and its managing director John Graham.
A sentencing hearing was held on 17 December 2020 at Leeds Magistrates’ Court, where Arrow Film Converters was fined £10,000 plus costs of £6,844.97 and a victim surcharge of £181, totalling £17,025.97.
Graham was fined £576 and asked to pay a victim surcharge of £57, totalling £633.
Cllr Maureen Cummings, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for environment, communities and poverty, said: “By avoiding operating under an Environmental Permit for so long, Arrow Film Converters avoided considerable expense in upgrading their site to comply with the conditions that would have been imposed.
“Protecting the environment is a key priority for the council and as an organisation, we have set a target to become carbon neutral by 2030, setting an example for the district, including our residents and businesses. I hope this shows others that we will pursue prosecution to those damaging our local environment.
“We will continue to work with the business to issue a permit and ensure that the conditions are complied with, protecting the environment and ensuring they compete with similar local businesses without an unfair advantage.”
The Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2016 require the operators of designated activities to apply for and comply with the conditions of an Environmental Permit.
Arrow Film Converters had not commented at the time of writing.