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Sat December 05 2020

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Builder fined for illegal bonfire

11 Feb A Cheltenham building contractor has been ordered to pay more than £7,000 in fines and costs after repeatedly burning waste materials on a bonfire.

The fire at Tunley resulted in a prosecution by Stroud District Council
The fire at Tunley resulted in a prosecution by Stroud District Council

Stroud District Council environmental protection officers issued a warning after seeing an illegal bonfire polluting the air. But when it was lit again the next day, the council prosecuted.

JF Building Services (UK) Limited pleaded guilty to two environmental offences in relation to the illegal burning of waste at Tunley.

Officers from Stroud District Council’s Environmental Protection team witnessed the burning of construction waste, including wood, plastics, cables and hosing, on a bonfire at Tunley on 7th October 2019.

Despite officers immediately advising the company of the commission of the offences, another bonfire of similar materials at the site was witnessed spewing black smoke on the following day.

Cheltenham magistrates sentenced the company to a fine of £5000, a victim surcharge of £181 and costs of £2453, a total penalty of £7,634.

JF Building Services (UK) Limited was represented in court by director Janis Fugalis.

“This should serve as a salutary lesson to companies tempted to cut corners by burning waste,” said Stroud District Council’s environmental protection manager, Dave Jackson, after the hearing on 3rd February. “This company wilfully ignored warnings to cease this practice and, as a consequence, has paid the penalty.”

Burning commercial waste can be an offence unless carried out under an environmental permit or through a formal exemption. The emission of dark smoke from bonfires on industrial or trade premises also constitutes an offence under the Clean Air Act 1993.

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