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five-month sentence for burning demolition waste

By John McKenna

A man who caused a large plume of noxious black smoke that forced a restaurant to be evacuated has been handed a five-month suspended prison sentence.

Neath Magistrates Court heard how on October 12, 2003 Haydn Williams of Waunddu, Pontnewydd, Pontypool was discovered burning large quantities of demolition waste at Cramic Way, Port Talbot.

The waste included large quantities of asbestos, causing pollution so severe that police advised local residents to stay indoors and evacuated a nearby restaurant.

An investigation into the incident revealed that demolition contractor Williams had demolished buildings at the site without first removing the large quantities of asbestos present.

Williams was later filmed by Environment Agency (EA) Wales using an excavator to push considerable quantities of waste, such as roofing felt, plastics and foams, onto a large fire, resulting in the noxious black smoke.

The investigation also revealed numerous containers of hazardous chemicals within the demolition site.

An EA spokesman said: The burning of waste by Williams last October, was undertaken with no regard to the risks it posed to the local inhabitants and the environment. His action resulted in a serious pollution incident and only through the hard work of the emergency services was the situation minimised.

The ruling capped a triumphant week in court for the EA.

In Kent, it successfully prosecuted a courier company that fly-tipped a box of rotting meat.

Abbey Couriers of Battle, East Sussex, was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,519.

Also in Kent, a father and son were found guilty of running a waste transfer site without a waste management license.

Llewellyn John Foley and James John Foley were fined £8,400 and ordered to pay costs of £1,963 for illegally importing, depositing, burning and bulking controlled waste.

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