Firm’s £8,950 court bill for illegal burning

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BUILDING firm M Parker and Sons Ltd was fined £7,000 and ordered to pay more than £1,900 costs for illegally burning waste at its Pode Hole site.

The firm, based at Tate Business Park, Dozens Bank, pleaded guilty to burning waste without a permit.

At a hearing on Tuesday, Spalding magistrates were told the company received a warning on January 11 last year about the burning of waste after Environment Agency officers found evidence of burning.

But Environment Agency officers visited again on November 8 last year following a complaint from a member of the public and found “two well established fires and one small fire”.

Miriam Tordoff, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, said one of the established fires measured seven metres by four metres and items being burned included plastic guttering, old potato boxes, house insulation, ceramics, plastic, paper packaging and large wooden beams.

She said: “The skip fire was burning too fiercely for it to be examined.”

Mrs Tordoff said only clean wood and green waste produced on the firm’s site could be burned there.

She said: “I think it is important to state that the employees had been instructed to burn waste, but also important to note that they themselves deliberately burned other material.”

Mrs Tordoff said director Michael Parker told Environment Agency officers that the company didn’t have a waste management policy because the business “isn’t big enough”.

In court, he said employees were told to burn only the clean timber but not the contents of the skip.

He said: “They had clear and strict instructions. I can’t understand to this day why they let it burn.”

Presiding magistrate Susan Painter said the company would have been fined £10,000 had it not entered an early guilty plea.

The company will pay its £7,000 fine, £1,942.80 costs and £15 victim surcharge at the rate of £750 a month.

After the hearing, Environment Agency officer Adam Shamma said: “Significant amounts of waste seem to have been burned at this site. Advice given earlier in the year was not followed, putting the environment and human health at risk.”