A RECYCLING firm boss branded Scotland’s worst polluter for illegally dumping waste at a former colliery has been sentenced to a community payback order of 250 hours.
Gary Doonin, 48, was found guilty in 2012 of keeping hundreds of tonnes of controlled waste at a site within the former Woodend Colliery near Armadale in West Lothian - one of the most significant environmental crimes in Scotland.
Scientists from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) claimed the waste produced noxious gas affecting local and global air quality and poisonous fluids capable of killing fish and plants in local rivers.
Mr Doonin and his company Doonin Plant Limited were both found guilty of keeping controlled waste in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health and of keeping waste otherwise than in accordance with a Waste Management Licence (WML).
The charge resulted in a record fine of £200,000 for the company, Doonin Plant Limited, with sentencing for Mr Doonin being deferred until today.
He is required to undertake 250 hours of community payback within one year.
Commenting on the sentencing, Chris Dailly, reporting officer for SEPA, said: “Mr Doonin and his company, Doonin Plant Limited, demonstrated a complete lack of consideration for the environment by carrying out such activities and their conviction and sentence should send a message to any operators acting outside of the law.
“SEPA has worked closely with our colleagues at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) to see this complex case reach a positive conclusion and will continue to do so to bring those who commit environmental crimes to justice.
“The sentence received by Mr Doonin today should also act as a warning to company directors that SEPA will consider offences committed by individuals when investigating environmental crimes.”
Lawyers for the company – which has now ceased trading – and Mr Doonin had challenged the conviction and the size of the fine at the Appeal Court in Edinburgh. But appeal judges threw out the case, agreeing the business carried out a “serious breach” of the Environmental Protection Act from a “desire to make profit”.