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£20,000 waste fine for council leader who "Let Down" his people

By Greg Pitcher

A council leader fined £20,000 for running an illegal waste site has been told you let your people down.

North Lincolnshire Council leader Donald Stewart (pictured) pleaded guilty to two charges of depositing and treating refuse on his land without a waste-management licence.

Scunthorpe Magistrates Court heard how burnt and smashed fridges, cement-bonded asbestos, plastic, metal and other wastes were stored at Holly Tree Farm in Epworth.

The case showed Stewart had risked the health of his constituents and could not be trusted, according to the opposition Labour leader.

Nic Dakin said: The Tory council leader has shown a complete disregard for the local environment and has let local people down.

It would seem the Tory leader cant even be trusted to look after his land.

This is a serious matter as burning these materials and the mishandling of asbestos could have a detrimental effect on the health of local residents.

The £20,000 fine shows how seriously the magistrates took the offence. Im sure local residents will have a view on what this says about the suitability of this man to lead North Lincolnshire Council.

However, Stewart told MRW he had the backing of local people and that until this changed he would remain in charge of the council.

Stewart said: I absolutely have the support of local people. I have had letters telling me to stay on and see through my vision.

I accept the British justice system. I take responsibility and I am sorry. I have paid the penalty but I feel I have been made an example of due to my position.

The waste was on a disused runway of an airfield on my land, and it has been clean for six months.

Stewart was also ordered to pay £1,944 costs for the offences, spotted by the Environment Agency (EA) in August 2003.

EA officer Richard Hardy said: Anyone operating a waste site without a licence is operating outside the law and the EA will not hesitate in taking action against them.

This document sets out features and procedures that must be in place to minimise risk to the environment and human health.

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