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These Stroud companies were fined more than £9,000 for illegal bonfires

Published: Thursday, 25 July, 2019

Three businesses have received a combined total of £9,258 in fines for offences associated with the burning of commercial waste.

Stroud District Council’s Environmental Health Officers brought successful prosecutions against KB Coaches Ltd in Eastington, AMPM247 in Stanley Downton and Standish Court Farm.

On 10th January, officers visited premises associated with KB Coaches Limited at Eastington and discovered a large fire on which waste materials were being burnt, including plastics, which emitted thick , dark smoke. The company pleaded guilty at a hearing on 1 July and was fined a total of £4,427. The Magistrates considered the offence to be serious, pointing to aggravating factors including the size of the fire, the noxious materials being burned, the exposure of staff to those fumes and the potential for causing significant environmental problems.

On 1st March, officers visited a site in Stanley Downton where they encountered a large fire where the fabric of a portacabin was being burnt by AMPM247 Limited, a construction company working at the site, emitting dark smoke. The company pleaded guilty to two offences in Court on July 22 and was penalised a total of £3,837. The company had environmental policies in place, but accepted that those policies had not been complied with and that it was responsible for the actions of its employees. The Magistrates commented that the fine should encourage the company to review its policies to ensure there was no repeat.

On 3rd April an officer visited Standish Court Farm where he witnessed a large fire which contained plastic-based pallets; the nature of the fire required the attendance of the fire service to bring it under control. In Court on 22nd July, Mr Stevens of Standish Court Farm pleaded guilty to an offence and was fined a total of £994.

The burning of commercial waste is strictly controlled and can be an offence unless carried out under an Environmental Permit or via a formal exemption.

The emission of dark smoke from bonfires on industrial or trade premises also constitutes an offence under the Clean Air Act 1993. Waste bonfires often contain materials which, when burnt, give off particularly unpleasant smoke and fumes which can be both distressing and potentially harmful to people nearby, particularly those with respiratory problems.

Speaking after the successful prosecutions, Councillor Simon Pickering, Chair of Stroud District Council’s Environment Committee said:

“The council takes air pollution control very seriously and is committed to catching offenders and taking them to court, where appropriate. We would please encourage members of the public to alert us to any further incidents of this kind.”

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