Site owners fined

Owners of an eyesore site have been ordered to pay a fine of £8,000 for consistently failing to take action to stop fly tipping on their land.

Newton Abbot-based Samara Investments Ltd, which owns an area of land at Ernesettle Lane, were found guilty in their absence of failing to comply with the requirements of an Abatement Notice, under section 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

The notice was served in December 2012 following continued and constant build-up of flytipping, including asbestos on their site, which falls within the setting of the Tamar Valley Area of National Beauty and is close to the Tavy and Tamar Estuary Site of Special Scientific Interest.      

Plymouth magistrates on Friday also ordered the company to pay full costs of £1023.81 and £120 victim surcharge. They described the company’s continued failure to secure the site and the resulting flytipping as a ‘reckless act’.

The offence was further aggravated by the company’s failure to engage with the Council at any stage, the court heard. They agreed that the cycle of fly-tipping and clearance had to be stopped by the Council’s prosecution.

Councillor Philippa Davey, Cabiner Member for Safer and Stronger Communities  said: “This has been a problem site for years and is one of a number of sites we have been targeting.

“The owners were given plenty of opportunities to sort this out but refused to get involved, preferring the Council tax payer to pick up the bill for their neglect.

“Action of this kind is complicated and a lot of background legal work needs to be done ahead of enforcement action. In this particular case, we were able to use legislation designed to address the risk of public health posed by the dumping of asbestos on the land.”

The company was first served a notice in December 2012 under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 for an ‘accumulation and deposit on land’

The Council visited the site in early 2013 and found materials including asbestos. The site was cleared and the Council billed the company for the work carried out.

In December 2014, further complaints were received and a further breach of the notice was witnessed. The Council once again wrote to the company but they did not reply. The Council cleared the site again and instigate legal action.