A metal recycling company has been fined £3,000 after polluting the air with chemical fumes.
J&J Stanley, based in Tyne and Wear, was sentenced by Newcastle Magistrates for pollution from its site on Longrigg Road in Swalwell two years ago.
The fumes – which came from a pile of aluminium waste dumped at the company’s yard – were so strong that police closed nearby roads to vehicles and pedestrians and also visited local residents to advise them to keep windows and doors shut.
The waste pile had been left uncovered and exposed to rainfall, which may have started the reaction, the Environment Agency said.
The company admitted to an offence of “depositing controlled waste in a manner likely to cause pollution or harm to human health”.
Sophie Webster, Environment Management Team Leader at the Environment Agency said: “The emission of the fumes affected residents and businesses and the emergency services spent valuable time and effort responding to the incident to ensure that people were not put at risk.
“The fine imposed by the court demonstrates the seriousness of environmental offences.”