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Firewood merchant fined £28,000 over waste 'bonfire'

A firewood merchant was fined £28,000 for piling and burning waste at an illegal site close to the railway in Suffolk.

Ian Dale Garnham, 44, pleaded guilty to disposing of controlled waste by burning in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health at The Woodyard in Diss, between 3 and 6 November 2012.

The wood yard did not have an environmental permit for the disposal of waste, according to the Environment Agency.

Andrew Logan, prosecuting for the EA, said that EA investigating officers arrived at the scene on 6 November after the fire brigade was called in.

EA officers found an extensive area of the lower yard covered in smouldering waste, in some places as high as four metres. They described there being about 30-40 loads of waste, varying in size.

Items burnt included waste tyres. Tests showed that toxic fumes would have been emitted from the fire due to incomplete combustion.

“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,” Logan told Norwich Magistrates’ Court.

Garnham told EA officers that he had held a bonfire party attended by 120 people, 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.

The bonfire was 116 metres long in diameter and had a height of between one and four metres, according to the EA.

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