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Image of black smoke from burning waste

Farming Operator issued formal caution for illegal waste disposal

Published: 22/11/2021

A farming operator has been issued with a formal caution and hit with paying the council’s investigatory costs as a result of the illegal disposal of business waste.

The incident which caused a large plume of black smoke occurred in May this year, and was attended by Kent Fire Brigade who found controlled wastes including carpeting and tyres burning. Investigating the circumstances of the incident, the council’s Environmental Protection team concluded that the disposal of burning of inappropriate materials occurred as a result of inadequate supervision and instruction of farm employees who had placed the materials onto the fire as part of the clearance of a barn.

On making a full and frank admission of the offence and on condition of the payment of the council’s investigatory costs, the operator has accepted a formal caution for the offence of disposing of controlled waste in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment. The caution will be held on file, and will carry the weight of a prior conviction should there be any future occurrence of such offences.

The council’s Environmental Protection team highlight that with the exception of garden waste burnt at the property in which it was cut down, it is generally illegal to treat wastes by burning. All commercial and controlled waste must be disposed of by utilising a licensed waste carrier or a licensed waste disposal site, and waste transfer notes retained on record. Failure to adhere to the legal controls surrounding the proper transfer and disposal of waste can result in potentially unlimited fines and/or up to five years imprisonment.

Councillor Peter Feacey, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Wellbeing, added “The public are ever more conscious of their impact on the environment and climate change. It is essential that businesses act to reduce their impact on the environment, and this starts at the most basic level by ensuring waste is legally recycled or disposed of in a controlled manner. Those who fail to comply with legal requirements can expect action to be taken.”