Caerwent recycle firm was ‘worst site’ witness visited

South Wales Argus: ON TRIAL: Jacqueline Powell at the Wormtech site in Caerwent ON TRIAL: Jacqueline Powell at the Wormtech site in Caerwent

AN environment officer described a Gwent waste firm as “the worst” site she had visited, a court heard yesterday.

Prosecutors against director of waste recycling firm, Wormtech Ltd, asked witness Kelly Jarman, a permit regulator, to give evidence in Cardiff Crown Court.

Jacqueline Powell, of Manor Way, Cardiff, was a director of Wormtech Ltd, which composted food waste from local authorities, including Blaenau Gwent, Torfaen and Monmouthshire.

Powell, 58, is charged with one count of consenting or conniving as a director of a company in the commission of an offence and three counts of failing to comply with a condition of an environmental permit, which she denies.

Miss Jarman, an environment officer for Environment Agency Wales, now Natural Resources Wales, began regulating the Caerwent site in August 2011. She said she knew there were problems on site because of its score, adding: “Every time a site breaches its waste permit, it is scored against them. At that time, Wormtech was in band F, the lowest banding.”

Prosecutor Timothy Evans asked Miss Jarman to recall her first visit to the site on July 27, 2011.

She said: “I think it was the worst site I had been to. I was taken aback by the smell on site and the state of the site. Not only the amount of waste which was there, but the lack of management on site.”

Miss Jarman next visited the site on August 12, 2011, when more problems were highlighted. The court heard how none of the fans in the buildings worked, meaning the temperature of the waste was too high, causing condensation to form and the waste to be wet.

Photos taken by Miss Jarman were shown to the court, demonstrating the lack of drainage systems to collect the black liquid run-off from piles of waste. The site’s permit required this liquid, called leachate, to be contained and to ensure it did not enter the ground.

Miss Jarman said some drains were blocked and there was evidence of leachate leaking from the buildings.

On Wednesday, the jury heard from two other witnesses from Natural Resources Wales., Christopher Gardener and Holly Sisley.

Ms Sisley first visited the site with Mr Gardener in April 2011. On July 19, 2012, a suspension notice was served to the firm.

Proceeding

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