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Fourteen Face Court For Flouting WEEE Rules

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Fourteen defendants will face court accused of breaking WEEE rules over the export of electrical waste

The largest investigation by the Environment Agency (EA) has brought 14 defendants to court for illegally exporting WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment) from the UK to developing countries.

The defendants, a mixture of companies and private individuals appeared at Basildon Crown Court on 8th April. Four pleaded not guilty, whilst others did not enter a plea as they are said to be pending legal arguments.

List Of Defendants

The Environment Agency supplied eWEEK Europe UK with the following list of the defendants and their pleas

  • Birmingham-based company Thorn International UK Limited  – not guilty
  • Essex-based Reliance Export Limited  – no plea
  • London-based BJ Electronics Limited  – no plea
  • Essex-based Orient Export Limited  – no plea

Meanwhile ten individuals were also brought before the court:

  • Joseph Benson  – no plea
  • Terence Dugbo  – not guilty
  • Nnamdi Ezechukwu  – no plea
  • Godwin Ezeemo  – no plea
  • Prince Ibeh  – no plea
  • Emmanuel Mukete  – not guilty
  • Adrian Thompson  – not guilty
  • Michael Sirpal  Singh Aulakh  – no plea
  • Chika Ezeemo  – no plea
  • Krassimir Vengelov  – no plea

According to the EA, all defendants face charges relating to illegally shipping waste under the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Shipment Regulation 2006.

A provisional court date of 17 October has been set.

WEEE Setback

The case highlights the growing problem of both individuals and companies offloading their old IT equipment, which contains toxic waste, in an unsafe manner. This cavalier attitude to the disposal of old equipment often results in it being exported illegally to the third world where it is processed in lethally unsafe ways.

The current WEEE directive has been in place for many years now, but it has faced persistent criticism that it was too lax and did little to alter the amount of IT junk that is tossed into landfill, or shipped to toxic disposal sites in the developing world.

In February the European Parliament voted after many delays, for tougher regulations on the disposal of electronic trash.

But last month the EU Council opted to lower e-waste targets from the 85 percent proposed by the European Parliament, to just 45 percent.

And to make matters worse the new rules won’t come into force for four years.