Hefty fine for man whose Grangemouth tyre hoard posed fire danger

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A businessman who illegally stashed waste tyre shred in a fire-risk Grangemouth shed has been fined £34,000 at Falkirk Sheriff Court.

James McHale, 70, kept huge quantities of worn and discarded tyres, waste tyre shred, burned tyre residue and baled tyres, without waste management licences at sites including Grangemouth, Alloa, Dundee, Fife and Aberdeenshire.

The waste tyre shred found in a shed at the Port of Grangemouth was among the huge collection of illegally stored material found by inspectors from environment protection agency SEPA between 2013 and 2014,

The court heard that the shed, on the port’s North Shore Road, was a fire risk because McHale had failed to install fire resistant walls, and had ignored rules that shredded tyres in the shed should be stacked no more than three metres high.

Depute fiscal Kate Fleming said all of the tyre storage was without the authority of a waste management licence and was carried out by McHale and a company with which he was associated, UK Steel Corporation Ltd.

Ms Fleming, specialist environmental crime prosecutor at the Crown Office, added: “He was the manager who was told not to let any more tyres in, and he continued to do so.”

McHale also broke a condition requiring that waste tyres and tyre shred should be held on the site in Grangemouth for no more than three months, before being shipped out.

McHale, of Coupar Angus, Perthshire, pleaded guilty to two charges under the Environmental Protection Act.

His address on court papers was given as the Lorimer Wing of historic Hallyburton House in Coupar Angus.

Imposing the heavy fine, Sheriff Derek Livingston told McHale: “These two charges involve many different breaches over a lengthy period of time, despite numerous warnings.

“I also don’t accept your protestations of ‘you were only helping’, or ‘you were only a consultant’, etc, and it appears to me that at various times you have deliberately attempted to mislead people about your involvement.

“They’ve done a great deal of damage, these tyres, as well as being a potential risk.”

Giving McHale, a former director of Lincolnshire-based Lightning Tyre Recycling Ltd, six months to pay, he added: “I did consider disqualifying you as a company director, as there do seem to have been grounds and it is also within my powers, but considered that this financial penalty is sufficient.”

McHale’s lawyer told the court her client would have to sell a house in England to stump up the sum.