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Farmer fined over €28,000 for burning waste

Burning waste lands farmer in court 

A farmer has appeared before court in connection with burning waste without an environmental licence.

John Patrick Radford (76), with an address at Upper Hartshay, Heage, Belper, Derbyshire, came before Derby Magistrates’ Court on March 29th, 2022.

He admitted two offences of operating a regulated facility without an environmental permit.

The judge ordered him to pay £10,000 and costs of £14,000, along with a victim surcharge of £120.

Burning waste 

Between September 2016 and 2018, Radford burned waste that third parties had brought to the farm.

The court heard that he continued to operate despite the Environment Agency’s warnings to cease the activity.

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He had registered an exemption under regulations for the burning of waste.

However, this only allowed the burning of green waste (plant matter), or untreated wood waste produced on-site.

According to the Environment Agency, this did not allow him to bring in waste from elsewhere to burn.

The court heard that the burning waste produced “large quantities” of smoke that impacted two neighbours. They complained to the Environment Agency.

The court heard that the smoke also “posed a danger” to drivers on the main road outside the farm.

In sentencing, the judge said Radford’s claim that he did not obtain any financial benefit from the activity was “incredulous”.

Also, he added that the defendant had “ample” opportunity to stop the unlawful activity before the prosecution was brought against him, but he chose not to do so.

The judge stated that he would impose a financial penalty due to Radford’s lack of previous convictions, age and the absence of any further offending.

What does the law state?

According to a statement from the Environment Agency, any person or business who treats, stores or deposits waste without the environmental permit they require is breaking the law.

A spokesperson said:

“The conditions of an environmental permit are designed to protect people and the environment.”

“Failure to comply with these legal requirements is a serious offence that can damage the environment, harm human health, and undermine local legitimate waste companies.”

“We welcome this sentence which should act as a deterrent to others considering flouting the law,” the spokesperson concluded.

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