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Biggin Hill land owner fined for burning controlled waste

PUBLISHED: 13:01 01 October 2014 | UPDATED: 13:01 01 October 2014

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Also ordered to pay council's costs

The owner of land in Biggin Hill has been found guilty of burning controlled waste, consisting of demolition materials and demolition timbers.

The prosecution at Bromley Magistrates Court followed an incident last December when Police closed Salt Box Hill for safety reasons when smoke from the fire mixed with fog.

The council’s public protection team subsequently investigated the circumstances when the fire had been extinguished by the London Fire Brigade and Mr Richard McKenna was told to pay a total of £3210.

“Waste needs to be disposed of properly and residents and businesses need to know that they cannot take illegal short cuts such as burning the waste without risking prosecution. This was a serious matter that compromised road safety as well as breaching the waste disposal laws which are obviously there for a purpose. The council simply will not tolerate breaches of this nature and will always prosecute where the supporting evidence makes doing so possible” said Colin Smith, executive councillor for environment.

Richard McKenna of Melody Road, appeared at Court on September 23 represented by Counsel and pleaded not guilty on his own behalf and that of his company, McKenna Demolition Limited, to the unlawful disposal of controlled waste by burning on land off Salt Box Hill, Biggin Hill on the December 10 in 2013.

Tim Stevens, executive councillor for public protection said: “Our thanks goes to the London Fire Brigade and the Biggin Hill crew in particular who both attended the scene and made the situation safe and for the vital evidence they provided too.

“This is a classic example of the success of partnership working. We will continue to work together with our partners through the Community Safety Partnership to make sure our borough is a safe as it can be.”

Despite acknowledging that demolition timbers were burnt on the site and that he had on occasion taken waste from his company’s demolition sites for the purposes of burning, McKenna claimed that there was no fire on the date in which three London Fire Brigade appliances attended his property and implied that the use of fire hoses on the pile of ashes caused a fire to reignite.

The Magistrates did not find sufficient evidence to link the matter to the company. However they did find McKenna guilty of the offence as he had by his own admission brought controlled waste onto the site and burnt it. Taking into account the facts of the case, problems with smoke mixing with fog on the highway on that date and a prior conviction against McKenna Demolition Limited for a similar offence, he was fined £1,100 plus £110 victim surcharge and was ordered to pay £2,000 towards the council’s costs.

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