A waste operator has been jailed for 15 months for running an illegal waste site in Norfolk after a court heard he had refused to co-operate with the authorities.
Mark Fuller ran his Manor Farm site in North Runcton near King’s Lynn for more than a year without planning permission and without an environmental permit to deposit, store, dispose of and treat waste.
Norfolk County Council served an enforcement notice on Fuller in September 2010 requiring him to stop taking construction and wood waste on to the land (pictured) and processing it, which he unsuccessfully appealed.
He has now been jailed at Norwich Crown Court heard after admitting two counts of failure to comply with an enforcement notice and one count of operating a regulated facility without being authorised by an environmental permit.
Mark Watson, prosecuting on behalf of the council and the Environment Agency (EA), told the court that Fuller continued to operate illegally despite correspondence, discussions, meetings and site visits by EA and council officers.
This is a case that has stretched the powers of planning enforcement to the limit
Mike Adams, Norfok County Council
EA and council officers found thousands of tonnes of wood waste 12-15m high at the site in November 2012, as well as thousands of tonnes of soil and construction waste imported and stockpiled.
Fuller told investigating officers that he had not received the EA’s letters and said that, until officers visited him in November 2012, he thought the operation was legal.
Speaking after the case, EA enforcement team leader Phil Henderson said: “The operation of illegal waste sites pose significant risk to our environment and local communities, particularly where this involves the wholesale stockpiling of waste, as in this case.
“This sentence reflects the seriousness with which the EA, our partners and the courts view this type of criminal offending, and we will seek to prosecute those involved wherever possible.”
Fuller continued to breach the enforcement notice three days after pleading guilty in December 2014, according to council officer Mike Adams.
“This is a case that has stretched the powers of planning enforcement to the limit. The defendant refused to engage with the planning system. Appeals, including High Court challenges with very little merit, were designed to frustrate the enforcement procedure and have lengthened and increased the cost of this process,” he said.
Fuller pleaded guilty to two counts of failure to comply with an enforcement notice requiring the discontinuance of a use of land, contrary to section 179(4) and (5) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, as amended.
He also pleaded guilty to one count of operating a regulated facility without being authorised by an environmental permit, contrary to Regulation 12(1)(a) and 38(1)(a) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010.