Court action to stop illegal burning

Published on Tue Jan 16 2024

A Burnley man has been ordered to pay more than £1,000 after Burnley Council took legal action to stop the illegal burning of waste materials.

Patrick Laverty, of Copy Wood Farm, pleaded guilty at Burnley Magistrates’ Court to three charges of failing to comply with a council abatement notice to prevent nuisance arising from the burning of waste at the farm.

He was fined £120 on each charge and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £144 and £560 costs.

The court heard that plastics, tyres, carpets and mattresses, as well as wood and kitchen worktops, were among the materials burned at the site, causing a nuisance and environmental impact on the surrounding area. The fires created acrid smoke that could be smelt some distance away.

The court was told that Laverty lived at the farm but that the land was owned by his sister.

The council worked with partners such as the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and Environment Agency to investigate the fires and gather evidence. The court heard that it was understood that the Environment Agency was taking its own separate action against Laverty regarding illegal waste activities at the site.

The council received several complaints in 2022 from local residents about waste burning at the site. After investigating, the council issued a community protection warning notice on Laverty requiring him to not deposit, dispose or burn any controlled waste at the farm.

The court heard that this did not stop the defendant from burning waste at the site, with eight incidents of burning recorded between 2nd April and 15th September 2022.

Laverty told a council environmental health officer that he had an exemption that allowed him to burn wood but a check with the Environment Agency found no such exemption existed.

The council issued an abatement notice upon Laverty, and the landowner, in October 2022 but further burning of waste was witnessed in February and June 2023.

Councillor Howard Baker, the council’s executive member for community and environmental services, said: “The illegal burning of waste at this site has caused a lot of concern among local residents about the impact this was having on the environment and their health.

“The council continually tried to work with the defendant to try and stop this nuisance but he continued to allow illegal burning and ignored legal notices preventing it. He has now paid the price.

“Burning waste in the open air can pollute the air, land and water. Household and commercial waste must always be recycled or disposed of via proper channels.”

Post expires at 10:31am on Tuesday April 16th, 2024