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Building firm pays hefty price for lane blocked with fly tipped waste

Published: Thursday, 1 March, 2018

Illegal tippers blocked a narrow country lane with a large lorry-load of builders’ waste – but left behind crucial clues which brought the case to court and landed a building firm with a hefty fine and costs to pay.

Stroud District Council investigators tracked down the Cheltenham home which Gloucester building firm Morgan Barnfield was working on from documents found in the pile of waste rubble, insulation material, bricks, and pallets, a court heard.

The sole director of Morgan Barnfield, Simon Barnfield, admitted to the council in interview that his firm was responsible for removal of any waste from the building work but receipts the company produced from a skip hire firm did not cover the date when the waste was dumped in Rooksmoor Lane, Upton St Leonards and the company could not produce any other documents to show how the waste had been disposed of.

The company admitted failing to prevent the escape of commercial builders waste, in contravention of the Environmental Protection Act, when it appeared before Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court on Monday, February 26.

A homeowner was unable to drive out of the lane while the waste was in the road, and Stroud District Council removed it within a few hours of the offence on February 11, 2016.

Found in the waste was an invoice for plumbing supplies with the address of the house under renovation, and two letters addressed to the same house. The owners of the home under renovation also identified a door and carpet from their property in the pile left on the road.

The bench chairman told Mr Barnfield, who attended the hearing on behalf of the company:

“This is an offence that is blighting so many people and we take it seriously.

“You can call it what you want but this is fly tipping.  This is a problem reaching epidemic proportions.”

He described Morgan Barnfield as having been “reckless” in terms of its waste disposal procedures.

Sentencing, the bench chairman gave full credit for pleading guilty and having put numerous procedures in place to ensure that the company’s waste is now properly disposed of, and acknowledged that a repeat of the offence is very unlikely.

He added:  “At the time, you had no procedures in place and it was your responsibility [to ensure the waste was properly disposed of].”

Sentence was a fine of £5,000, with prosecution costs of £3,161.40 and a victim surcharge of £170, making a total of £8,331.40.

After the hearing, Stroud District Council environment committee chair Simon Pickering said:

“Fly tipping is completely unacceptable and irresponsible. Controlled waste like this should be disposed of safely and within the law, and although we were unable to track down those who tipped it in this case, it showed that the council we will pursue those who are responsible further up the chain  to identify those ultimately responsible if necessary.

“I would like to pay tribute to the brilliant work of the council’s officers who carried out a very detailed and thorough investigation to secure a successful prosecution – the fine is a warning that illegal tipping is not tolerated and we will take action wherever we can.”

A Stroud District Council spokesman said after the case

“We are extremely pleased with the decision made at court on Monday. The size of the fine represents the severity of the case which rendered the lane completely impassable. Homeowners who entrusted and paid for a builder to carry out works, ended up traumatised by their carelessness.

“Fly tipping of this nature rarely presents an opportunity for investigation but in this case, paperwork was found amongst the rubble and debris which enabled officers to build a case.

“The council will not tolerate this kind of behaviour and will endeavour to pursue those individuals responsible.”

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