South East Wales

Gwent Levels waste dumping: David John Neal pleads guilty

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Media captionThe two companies run by David John Neal were also fined £100,000 between them and ordered to clean up their site by next January

A recycling firm owner who illegally dumped waste in a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) has been given a three-month suspended sentence.

David John Neal, 52, of Rumney, Cardiff, was fined £10,000 and his two firms face fines and costs of £202,000 after pleading guilty to the breaches at Ty-To Maen Farm on the Gwent Levels.

Cardiff Magistrates Court heard the "substantial and serious pollution" leaked toxic liquid into the water.

Neighbours complained of strong odours.

Neal ran two companies - Atlantic Recycling and Neal Soil Suppliers - on the Gwent Levels in the Wentloog area of Cardiff.

The area falls within an SSSI for its fauna and flora and was monitored by the Countryside Council for Wales.

The prosecution followed a year-long investigation by Natural Resources Wales, its predecessor the Environment Agency and South Wales Police.

District Judge Martin Brown, sitting at Cardiff Magistrates Court, heard that toxic liquids had leached into a reen, or adjacent water course.

Neal pleaded guilty personally to breaches of environmental rules and also pleaded guilty on behalf of his two companies to depositing waste likely to cause pollution to the environment or harm to human health.

The companies were fined £50,000 each and £51,000 each in costs.

Judge Brown said of Atlantic Recycling's case: "There was clearly the potential for serious pollution, but thankfully there were no long lasting adverse effects."

However in the case of Neal Soil Suppliers - where dairy and food effluent was spread over a field - there had been "substantial and serious pollution".

Image caption The land owned by the Neal family had previously been used for agricultural purposes

In mitigation the company's barrister Andrew Arentsen said: "This is not an offence that led to a profit. The company were trying to upgrade their waste transfer station and they were using the field as a temporary solution."

Natural Resources Wales operations director south Graham Hillier said: "NRW are fully supportive of the need to reuse and recycle our waste to ensure we reduce our unsustainable reliance on landfills".

But he added: "The outcome of this case shows that companies and individuals who seek to exploit the regulatory framework which protects the environment and public health will not be tolerated by Natural Resources Wales.

"We will work with those who share our aims of making best use of Wales's resources but those who seek to maximise profit at the costs to their customers and the environment will have poor prospects of remaining a viable business."

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