A waste removal businessman has been handed a suspended prison sentence after illegally storing and burning thousands of tonnes of waste without a permit, following an incident described by an Environment Agency (EA) officer as one of the worst he had seen.
Edward Donovan of Churchill Drive, Crediton, Devon, was accused of dumping and eventually burning 2,000 tonnes of commercial refuse on farm land without a permit or the owner’s permission.
The EA prosecuted Donovan, who traded as EDS or Ed Donovan Services, and he pleaded guilty to five charges under the Environmental Protection Act.
Donovan received an 18-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, for each of the offences. He was also given a five-year criminal behaviour order, banning him from working in the waste industry for that time.
In addition he was ordered to pay Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service £1,232 after it had to attend a large fire last year, and to cover the EA’s £4,252 legal costs.
Exeter Magistrates Court heard that Donovan turned part of an elderly land owner’s farm at Spreyton into an illegal waste site after being allowed to use land in lieu of payment for removing three caravans.
When told to tidy up the site in November 2017, Donovan set the waste alight, the EA said.
Adrian Evans of the EA described the situation as “one of the worst incidents of illegal waste management I have come across for some time”.
He added: “The defendant showed a complete disregard for the environment, health and safety and for the owners of the land and their neighbours.
“As well as furniture, plastics, plasterboard and other vast quantities of waste which were strewn across a large area, we found materials containing asbestos.”