$7,500 in fines for failing to respond to EPA notice; alleged unlawful asbestos transportation

$7,500 in fines for failing to respond to EPA notice; alleged unlawful asbestos transportation

A waste contractor has been convicted and fined by the NSW branch of the Environmental Protection Authority for failing to provide information and the required records.

In February of last year, he was served with a notice from the EPA to produce information and records. At this point, the EPA was investigating potential offences relating to the alleged unlawful transport of asbestos-containing waste to four separate sites.

The notices directed Michael Laird to produce information about the building sites he had previously worked on and those he intended to work on, during the investigation period.

Mr Laird did not provide a response by the notice’s due date of March 11 last year.

Mr Laird pleaded guilty to the charges in June of 2021 and the Parramatta Local Court was told that the documents provided to the EPA did not address the requirements fully.

Magistrate Price noted during convicting and sentencing that the EPA notices require full rather than partial compliance for the safety of the environment and society.

EPA Director Major Compliance and Investigations Greg Sheehy said he welcomed the decision by the court.

“The courts take any non-compliance with EPA notices and directions extremely seriously,” Mr Sheehy said.

“Responding to an EPA notice is a legal obligation set out under NSW’s environment laws.

“The EPA has these powers to protect the environment and investigate potential offences.

“Anyone who fails to co-operate as directed by EPA officers can expect further action, such as prosecution, which may result in a criminal conviction as well as a financial penalty.”

Fines can be up to $250,000 for an individual failing to produce information and records. For continuing offences, a further $60,000 for each day the offence continues.

Mr Laird was fined $7,500, which is separate to penalties and costs of $220,000 required to be paid to the EPA following his prosecution for land pollution.

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