Dream of recycling firm ends in court

A BUSINESSMAN who ‘fell foul of planners’ avoided a maximum penalty of £150,000 at Chichester Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

Godfrey Dudman, 49, from Heyshott, pleaded guilty to three charges of not having the relevant permit for his waste disposal business – Goss Mini Skips, based at Stedham Sawmills.

Peter Bilbrough, representing the Environment Agency, told the court the permit ensured materials were recycled in a non-environmentally hazardous way.

Dudman had previously applied for planning permission to start up a recycling business, which was refused and then dismissed on appeal, despite many letters of support.

“His dream of making a recycling business in the Midhurst area has fallen foul of planners,” his legal representative James Warren told the court.

“He was not aware until recently he could apply for a permit at the same time as planning permission.”

Mr Bilbrough said agency officers had visited the site in December, 2011, and observed a number of skips, some of which only contained one type of waste.

“This gave them cause to consider that sorting and separation of waste was taking place on the site,” he added.

When questioned at Havant Police Station in March, 2012, Dudman told police he started sorting waste on the site in about 2010.

He told them he sorted metal, wood, soil and rubble, and green wastes before sending them for disposal or recycling elsewhere.

“He’s not caused environmental damage,” said Mr Warren. “He’s basically been sorting without a waste disposal licence.”

He also said Dudman’s income was very low. He had been made redundant from his previous job, and had started operating the skip hire business full-time.

“He accepts he did start sorting stuff but it’s a bit of a conundrum. He’s sorting stuff out and it’s going to recycling,” he said.

“It’s not going to landfill, but he doesn’t have a permit to do that.”

Chairman of the magistrates Andrew Tonks told Dudman the magistrates had taken into account his early guilty plea, but there were a number of aggravating circumstances.

He ordered a conditional discharge for two years, and a contribution of £1,500 towards the court costs.

Speaking after the trial, Dudman said: “It’s just a shame that Midhurst are going to lose their skip company.”