£2,000 fine and driving ban following fly tip on Epsom Common
Epsom & Ewell Borough Council has reinforced it’s tough stance on fly-tipping following a successful prosecution of a Mitcham man whose failure to exercise proper care resulted in the dumping of waste on Epsom Common, one of Surrey’s largest nature reserves.
Lee Nicholson was prosecuted for his involvement in the illegal disposal of waste at the local beauty spot which, as well as a nature reserve, has additional protection as common land and as a Site of Nature Conservation Interest.
The waste was discovered in March 2017 and the fly tipped material had to be cleared and disposed of at the expense to the Council Tax Payer.
The material consisted of general building refuse (bags of rubble, plasterboard and insulation), office waste, a mattress and bed, fluorescent light tubes, office equipment including a fax machine and printer cartridges and various other bagged and loose garbage. Crucially, the office rubbish included a number of items with an address from which council investigators were able to track back to the origin of the waste. The originator was shocked that the material had been disposed of illegally, having paid for the disposal in good faith, and supplied the council with the telephone number for the person used for the disposal. From this, investigators were able to identify and locate Mr Nicholson.
On Monday 8 January at Guildford Magistrates Court, Mr Nicholson pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to take all such measures as are reasonable to prevent the fly-tipping of the waste and to secure that the person he transferred the waste to was authorised and provided a waste transfer note. The Magistrates considered that Mr Nicholson had been completely negligent by failing to exercise any care in his treatment of the waste. Consequently Mr Nicholson was fined £400 in respect of the first count, £100 in respect of the second count, a victim surcharge of £40 and was ordered to pay £1,440 in respect of the council’s costs of the investigation and prosecution – meaning he has to pay a total of £1,980. The Magistrates also considered that the failure was so serious Mr Nicholson also received a driving ban for six months to prevent any further offending.
A council spokesman said: “Fly-tipping is a blight on neighbourhoods and we will take action against perpetrators. Not only will we pursue anyone physically dumping material, we will also take action where we have evidence that someone has failed to exercise a duty of care in disposing of their rubbish. Individuals and businesses should always check that whoever they get to clear waste is licensed, and should obtain a waste transfer note. We urge anyone who witnesses fly-tipping to help us catch these criminals by giving us as much information as possible via our website”.