Merchant fined £28,000 for ‘noxious and toxic’ bonfire party
- Credit: Archant
A man who burned waste at a bonfire party on an illegal site near a railway line in Diss has been fined £28,000.
Norwich Magistrates' Court heard that Ian Dale Garnham illegally stockpiled waste and then set fire to it at The Woodyard in Upper Rose Lane, Palgrave, near Diss, between November 3 and 6 last year, resulting in the fire brigade being called to the site.
Andrew Logan, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, said a white plume of smoke that smelt noxious and toxic lingered over the site and blew across the nearby railway line.
On November 6, investigating officers found an 'extensive area of the lower yard' covered in smouldering waste that in some places was as high as four metres. They described there being about 30 to 40 loads of waste, varying in size.
Firewood merchant Garnham, who admitted burning waste in a manner likely to pollute the environment or harm human health, was also ordered to pay £5,799.95 costs and a victim surcharge of £120.
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He asked for a charge of running a waste operation for the deposit, storing and disposal of waste by burning, without being authorised by an environmental permit, to be taken into consideration.
Mr Logan said: 'The uncontrolled burning of waste is likely to have polluted the air and contaminated the ground and was, in part, financially motivated and he failed to take our advice.'
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He said items burned in the fire included tyres. Tests showed that toxic fumes would have been emitted from the fire due to incomplete combustion.
'Concentrations of copper, lead and zinc in the ash were significantly higher than the background soil levels for England and Wales,' Mr Logan said.
Garnham told Environment Agency officers that he had held a bonfire party and 120 people attended, with the proceeds from the event going to charity. He also said that 90% of the waste burned was green waste which he had brought back to the yard for recycling.
After the hearing, environment officer Tom Pickover said: 'There was no waste permit for this yard and burning waste is illegal. The effect of the fire was to release toxins into the air and the ground.
'Everyone who disposes of waste has a duty of care to ensure their waste is handled correctly.'