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‘Worst polluter’ in Scotland forced to pay up

Scotland – A recycling firm labelled ‘Scotland’s worst polluter’ for illegally dumping waste at a former coal mining site will have to pay out a record £200 000 (US$ 335 000), Edinburgh News has reported. The courts have thrown out an appeal from Doonin Plant director Gary Doonin over the ‘substantial fine’.

Handed down by Livingston Sheriff Court last December, it is the largest cumulative financial penalty ever handed out for an environmental offence in Scotland. According to the judge, the company was guilty of a ‘serious breach’ of the Environmental Protection Act through a ‘desire to make profit’. 

The case related to the unlicensed disposal of ‘hundreds of tonnes of waste’, including car tyres and food packaging. Doonin claimed in court that the waste was only being kept on a ‘temporary basis’ and thus would not cause substantial pollution.

Doonin has described the penalty as ‘excessive’, and is reported to have commented: ‘I have done nothing wrong. There’s nobody dead and nobody lost any limbs.’

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead countered this by calling the sentence a ‘welcome recognition’ of the damage that environmental crime can do. Most importantly, it sends a clear message to perpetrators, Lochhead declared. ‘There is no place to hide.’

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