A COMPANY has been fined £50,000 for committing an environmental offence in Herefordshire.

John Jones Civil Engineering & Groundworks Ltd was sentenced at Hereford Magistrates’ Court on July 3 for an offence relating to the illegal deposit of waste on land at Bage Farm, Madley.

The charge was brought by the Environment Agency and stated between July 2014 and October 2014, the company deposited over 5,000 tonnes of soil, stone, brick and concrete into two land hollows on land at Badge Farm, Madley.

The hollows were a habitat for great-crested newts, which are a European protected species.

The depositing of the waste had resulted in the disturbance, injury, and killing of some of the newt population

Hereford Magistrates’ Court fined the company £50,000 and ordered it to pay prosecution costs of £50,000.

As part of the fine, the court ordered the company to pay the costs it had avoided in failing to legally dispose of the waste.

In mitigation, the company’s barrister stated that the company had pleaded guilty to the offence and had no previous convictions.

He also stated that the newt population had thrived in the time following the offence.

The company had a previous caution for environmental offences committed in 2010 and 2011.

Environment Officer Lyndon Essex, said: “Waste crime is a serious offence with tough penalties as it can damage the environment and undermine those who operate legally."

He added: “This case sends out a clear message that we will not hesitate to take action to ensure the protection of the environment.”