A south Wales businessman has been fined £24,000 on waste management charges that include trying to burn a derelict building made of potentially harmful asbestos.
Colin Stevens of Penarth pleaded guilty to setting fire to a building of 200 square metres that also contained vehicle bodies and numerous lead-acid batteries.
Barry Magistrates Court heard that police and fire officers were forced to evacuate the area and advised residents to close windows and doors after the blaze at the Atlantic Trading Estate in Barry.
Environment Agency manager John Harrison said: “This was clearly a reckless act committed by Stevens that placed him, his neighbours and the emergency services at significant risk. We feel the level of fine issued in this case fully reflects the seriousness of the incident.”
Estimates suggest that proper removal of the asbestos would have cost approximately £25,000.
Harrison added: “In addition to having a criminal record and a significant fine, he has made the job of removing and disposing of the asbestos a far more difficult and expensive one, which he will have to meet should he wish to develop the site in the future.”