• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Recycling bosses are banned for life

THREE bosses of a recycling company branded Scotland's worst polluter and fined a record £200,000 for environmental offences have been banned for life from running any businesses using lorries.

Gary Doonin, Thomas Doonin and Robert Forrest were disqualified from running any such enterprises after it was found the company had failed to ensure its vehicles were safe.

All were banned with immediate effect from holding or obtaining a heavy goods vehicle licence, while Gary Doonin, 49, also received a life ban from working as a transport manager for other HGV firms.

Joan Aitken, Scotland's Traffic Commissioner, which regulates transport companies, said South Lanarkshire-based Doonin Plant's use of lorries had been integral to its environmental crimes.

"There is a history here of analogous offending and of criminal disregard for the protection of the environment and safe handling of waste," she said."Lorries were at the heart of this criminality on the part of Doonin Plant Ltd and Mr Gary Doonin. Without lorries ... this offending could not happen."

She added: "I am in no doubt this is an operator that must be put out of goods vehicle operating forever. It is that serious given the use to which the lorries were put."

Ms Aitken's decision followed a public inquiry on August 14 in Edinburgh into the firm, which has plants in Cambuslang and Rutherglen.

She heard an investigation into the company had been carried out by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) that had found safety failings.

Four prohibition notices had been issued to vehicles operated by the company between September 2011 and April 2012 relating to tyre and wheel defects and the failure of drivers to undertake daily safety checks.

Previous investigations by the DVSA in 2007 and 2011 also reported issues with vehicle maintenance.

In December 2012 Doonin Plant was fined £200,000 at Livingston sheriff Court for storing hundreds of tons of commercial and industrial waste without a licence at the disused Woodend Colliery, in Armadale, West Lothian. Car tyres, carpets, electrical components, metal and timber were all discovered buried under soil.

Sheriff Douglas Kinloch said the company had been found guilty of a large-scale operation that involved a "serious and significant breach" of the legislation and posed a real danger to the environment and public health.

Gary Doonin, who was found guilty of two environmental law breaches, had sentence deferred for a year. After his conviction he claimed he was the victim of "persecution" by officials from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.

At its peak the company, which produced recycled aggregate for major engineering projects such as the M74 extension, employed more than 50 people.

The firm failed in a bid to appeal its conviction earlier this year.

No one could be contacted last night for comment from the company or the family.

A SEPA spokesman said: "We have noted the decision by the Commissioner and also the significance this ruling has placed on tackling environmental crime."

Contextual targeting label: 
Automotive

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

259338