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Trago Mills fined £200k for illegally dumping waste

Published: 3 October 2011
South-west superstore retailer Trago Mills has been fined almost £200,000 for illegally dumping and burning waste at two of its out-of-town stores in 2009.
Trago Mills fined £200k for illegally dumping waste
Appearing before Torquay magistrates last week, the company pleaded guilty to depositing and disposing of several thousands tonnes of waste, including asbestos, at sites near the retailer's stores at Newton Abbot and Liskeard.

On September 14, 2009, officers from the Environment Agency visited the Newton Abbot store and discovered waste materials including plastic, electrical goods, concrete, packaging, pots of paint and chemicals had been illegally landfilled.

Also dumped were unsold stock, former shop displays and discarded office equipment. A larger area of landfill, containing an estimated 6,000 tonnes of waste, including 200 sheets of asbestos, was found on an adjoining part of the site.

According to a report from the Agency, in June 2009, video footage taken from a helicopter showed a large stockpile of waste on land belonging to Trago Mills - 1km from the main store at Liskeard. The pile contained substantial amounts of wood including pallets and furniture, timber, tree cuttings, rubble and cardboard packaging.

During a visit later in the year, Agency officers found the remains of a huge fire, where the illegal burning of materials including plastic, tyres and treated wood had taken place, producing polluting and toxic smoke.

The court heard Trago Mills had since worked with the Environment Agency to remove the illegally dumped waste. It employed extra staff to help recover and sort the waste and claims the clean-up operation has cost the business almost £500,000.

At the Newton Abbot site, the mixed wastes had to be segregated, and any contaminated material disposed of separately, with the clean-up taking several months.

The Environment Agency's Dave Brogden said: "Trago Mills uses its location in the unspoilt Devon countryside to market its out-of-town stores and leisure parks. You would think such a company would do all it could to protect these locations. Instead, it dumped thousands of tonnes of waste and showed an unacceptable disregard for the environment.

"From our investigations it was clear these illegal operations had taken place over a lengthy period of time and involved thousands of tonnes of waste. The company had recycling schemes in place, but avoided costs by illegal dumping."

Watch video footage of the dump site, filmed by the Environment Agency, here.


27 April 2018 14:53:18
Betty Johnston

I was horrified to read that asbetos was found on a site belonging to Trago. Are these people so stupid ( and I use this word to be polite) .Do they not realise that people die from exposure  to asbestos. I had to watch my beautiful, strong, fit husband die of Mesothelioma (tumour from asbestsos) a very horrendous and painful death.  God Forgive these ignorant morons who did this. I assume ( I am giving them the benefit of the doubt) that they did not realise how deadly asbesos is and that it kills.  Really and truly whoever did this should be imprisoned for life, fining  is not enough. I hope none of their family die of asbestos it is a sight I will never forget.  

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