Builder fined for burning demolition waste

A builder has been fined more than £1,300 for burning demolition waste on land at Harewell Wood Cottage, Glasshouses.

On 29 April 2021, following a public report, Harrogate Borough Council visited the property and witnessed remnants of a fire, from the previous evening, which consisted of timber and some corrugated roofing sheets.

Mr Philip Snow (31) from Glasshouses had carried out demolition work - operating under PR Snow Services - at the former butchers in Summerbridge and had disposed of some of the waste on land owned by his parents, in order to burn it, rather than disposing of the waste at an authorised waste disposal site.

After further investigation, the borough council discovered that, on the evening of 28 April, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service attended the property in order to extinguish the fire, which was emitting dark smoke.

The emission of dark smoke was caused by the materials burnt in the fire. Namely timber, insulated sandwich panels and some corrugated roofing sheets. The burning of these materials caused large amounts of black smoke emitted into the atmosphere causing pollution into the environment and potential harm to health.

This dark smoke, which was caused by the burning of these materials, is an offence under Section 2 of the Clean Air Act 1993.

The Environment Agency also provided a witness statement stating that there was no environmental permit or exemption in place for the burning of waste on the land at the time of the incident.

On Friday 17 December, after consideration of the facts and taking account of Mr Snow's guilty plea, York Magistrate Court fined Mr Snow £678 for the offence under section 2(1) of the Clean Air Act 1993 and ordered Mr Snow also pay the prosecution costs of £635.

In total, Mr Snow was required to pay £1,381 for the offence.

Councillor Mike Chambers, Harrogate Borough Council's cabinet member for housing and safer communities, said: "Mr Snow has shown a complete lack of awareness or consideration for the law, as well as the environment, by disposing of commercial waste in this way.

"I'd like to thank the concerned residents who raised the alarm, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service for dealing with the fire swiftly and safely as well as the council officers for taking action against the individual who caused this emission of dark smoke and bringing this individual to the attention of others.

"I hope this is a reminder to business owners that the illegal disposal of waste is a criminal offence and we will, with proper evidence, seek to prosecute the offender."

Anyone employing an individual or business to remove waste from their property or business have a responsibility to ensure they dispose of it legitimately.

The easiest way to do this is to check they have a waste carriers licence (Upper Tier). This can be done on the Environment Agency's website or by calling 0370 850 6506. The council also advise asking for a receipt documenting the waste that was taken, by who and at what cost.

More information about fly-tipping is available on the council's website.

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Published: 12th January 2022