North Devon Journal – Dry dock director receives suspended prison sentence for polluting air and water in North Devon
3 December 2014 - THE director of a ship dismantling firm which pumped contaminated water into the Torridge estuary and polluted smoke into the air has received an 18-week suspended prison sentence.
Gareth Evans, of FTD Marine Ltd, was found to have behaved “recklessly” when he breached conditions of an environmental permit at Richmond Dry Dock in Appledore.
He was found guilty of eight environmental breaches which received dozens of complaints from residents.
The Environment Agency started receiving complaints after FTD Marine Ltd began dismantling ships at the yard in September 2012.
Residents became concerned at the level of noise, burning of waste and odour nuisances coming from the dock – the Agency received more than 40 complaints about noise alone.
The company operated under a permit that required any ship dismantling to be carried out in a way that did not harm the environment or pose a risk to human health.
As site operator, Gareth Evans, who now lives in Wrexham, had a responsibility to ensure activities at the dock complied with the permit.
When Agency officers visited the site in November 2012 they saw smoke rising from the dock and noticed an acrid smell.
The officers also noticed the lock gates were not watertight and water from the estuary was seeping into the dock and becoming contaminated with oils, sludges, paint and dirt from dismantled vessels.
Instead of containing any contaminated water, FTD Marine Ltd pumped it back over gates and into the estuary.
On January 4 2013 Agency officers returned to Richmond Dry Dock with an acoustics expert to carry out a noise survey. The expert concluded the noise levels represented “serious pollution.”
Environment Agency spokesman Sue Smillie said:
“This ship dismantling operator ignored some of the basic conditions of his permit and caused considerable anxiety and concern among people living near the dry dock.
“Many of the offences were avoidable. I would like to thank the local community for their support and patience during this period.”
FTD Marine Ltd was ordered to pay £4,743 costs and Evans was sentenced to 18-weeks in jail, suspended for two years, at Exeter Magistrates’ Court.
Evans was found guilty at a previous hearing of eight breaches of the dry dock’s environmental permit including causing excessive noise and vibration, discharging contaminated water into coastal waters and emitting polluting smoke in contravention of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010.