The Waste4Fuel recycling plant in St Paul’s Cray has been fined the maximum amount after it was prosecuted by London Fire Brigade for stacking flammable materials 12 times in excess of the size legally allowed.
On Thursday at Bromley Magistrates’ Court the company pleaded guilty to maintaining a stack of flammable material larger than the size allowed without the permission of the fire authority.
It was fined the maximum of £1,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,860 plus a £100 victim surcharge - a total of £8,960.
The case followed a fire in the waste stack on March 18 last year - at the time the stack was estimated to contain around 6,000 tonnes of material.
Fire safety officers visited the site after the fire and notified the owners the waste stack was so large they would need consent for it under the Greater London Council (General Powers Acts).
The company applied to London Fire Brigade for permission but this was refused on the grounds the size of the stack posed a high fire risk and its size would make firefighting difficult.
Due to concern that, despite warnings from the brigade, the size of the waste stack wasn’t being reduced a survey was then carried out to establish its size.
Stacks larger than 48,000 cubic feet usually require legal permission and the stack of materials on the Waste4Fuel site was found to be 573,475 cubic feet - around 12 times that size.
The brigade has been called out to the centre 12 times in the past year, with the latest fire at the site in Cornwall Drive breaking out on Monday.
The company is already subject to a High Court injunction obtained by the Environment Agency requiring it to remove all combustible waste by May 1.
London Fire Brigade’s deputy head of fire safety regulation Mark Andrews said: "While we welcome this conviction we are fully aware that there has been a history of problems at the Waste4Fuel site on Cornwall Drive, with firefighters being called out to attend 12 incidents there in the last year alone.
"This causes considerable distress and disruption to people in the area, as well as placing an on-going drain on our resources, and we are continuing to work with the Environment Agency to resolve the problem once and for all."