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Curfew for farmer sentenced for burning plasterboard

A man has been sentenced for illegally burning waste on his farm after an investigation by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa).

Investigators observed several tonnes of white waste plasterboard smouldering and 20-30 tonnes of soil mixed with construction and demolition materials at Balmain Farm (pictured) in September 2012.

Officers saw what appeared to be the same wastes, burnt further, on another site visit a month later.

Materials samples were traced to a demolished care home, from which farm owner Alan Blyth had previously removed waste.

Blyth pleaded guilty in April to keeping controlled waste without a licence and the Sheriff at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court has now imposed a curfew on Blyth for eight months requiring him to stay at home between the hours of 10pm and 5am.

Sepa’s Fife team manager Judith Moore said: “The disposal of plasterboard by burning is not permitted under an exemption and would not be authorised by Sepa. Due to its gypsum mineral component, it has high sulphur content and improper disposal can give rise to emissions of hydrogen sulphide, which is a toxic and odorous gas.

“By illegally keeping and burning this waste, Blyth has not only posed an unacceptable risk to the environment, he has not paid the appropriate disposal costs at a registered landfill or the fees for a waste management licence.

“This would give him a financial benefit over operators who ensure they have the correct licences in place and fulfil their environmental responsibilities.”

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