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Somerset landowner fined for burying hazardous waste

A landowner who buried asbestos and other demolition waste at a farm near Taunton, Somerset, has been ordered to pay £2,334.68 in fines and costs. The case was brought by the Environment Agency.

Taunton Magistrates Court heard how Michael James obtained planning permission to convert the farm buildings at Allerford Farm, Taunton, into a mixture of industrial and residential units.

James stock-piled more than 250 tonnes of concrete slabs and blocks, cement cladding material and asbestos at the farm during the redevelopment.

On 3 July, 2008 the defendant employed an earth moving contractor to dig a pit and bury the mixed waste that was being temporarily stored at the site. The mixing of the wastes with asbestos contravened the Hazardous Waste Regulations and the burying of the wastes contravened the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2007.

Magistrates heard that by mixing the asbestos roofing sheets with the inert concrete blocks, the defendant had made the whole stock pile hazardous waste.

Environment Agency spokesman Michael Dyer said: If the defendant had taken the trouble to segregate the concrete rubble from the hazardous waste it would have only cost around £1,000 to legitimately dispose of the relatively small amount of asbestos. Mixing and burying the various wastes has created a much larger potential clean-up bill.

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