Fife landowner handed £15,000 confiscation order for waste offence

date08 July 2015

A Fife landowner, Ernest McPherson, has been handed a £15,000 confiscation order today (8 July, 2015) for illegally storing waste on land at Lochgelly over a five year period. The order follows on from a Restriction of Liberty Order issued to Mr McPherson in May last year which required him to be at home between 9pm and 5am.

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Ernest McPherson pled guilty to keeping thousands of tonnes of controlled waste without the authority of a waste management licence on land at Wee Mary Bing, Wester Cartmore Farm, Lochgelly between December 2006 and March 2012. The matter had been investigated by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and efforts made by officers to bring the site into compliance prior to a report being sent to the Procurator Fiscal. SEPA, in conjunction with Police Scotland, submitted a separate report for consideration by the Crown Office’s Serious and Organised Crime Division for the confiscation of any financial benefits made by Mr McPherson by avoiding licence costs.

Various wastes (household, commercial and industrial) were kept on the land between December 2006 and March 2012. These wastes included rusting cookers, polypropylene bags and sheets, polythene, railway sleepers, plastic parts, metal gauze, a hand saw, polystyrene, foam sheets of wall insulation, damp course membrane, wood, a rotary air dryer, plastic drainage pipe, aerosol cans and car seat springs, roofing slates, bricks, concrete blocks, metal parts, plastics, paving slabs, wooden doors and corrugated iron sheeting. These materials were not permitted to be stored over that length of time without a waste management licence being in place.

A Restriction of Liberty Order was issued on 14 May, 2014, which lasted for a period of six months. During this time, Mr McPherson was required to remain in his home between the hours of 9pm and 5am.

Neil Morrison, SEPA’s reporting officer, said:

“SEPA officers tried to work with Mr McPherson over the years to bring the site into compliance with waste management legislation, however unfortunately, compliance  was never achieved and the site continued to store waste.

“We want to work with individuals and companies to ensure that they understand their environmental responsibilities and how to meet them. However, when this work does not result in changes and compliance with waste legislation, we will use all options available to us, including referring the case to the Procurator Fiscal.”

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Notes to editors

The exact charge that Mr McPherson pled guilty to was: 

Between 1 December 2006 and 14th March 2012, both dates inclusive at Wee Mary Bing, Wester Cartmore Farm, Lochgelly, Fife you Ernest Alexander McPherson did keep controlled waste, namely household, industrial and commercial waste, including but not limited to rusting cookers, polypropylene bags and sheets, polythene, plastic banding material marked Skene Concrete Products, railway sleepers, plastic parts, metal gauze, a hand saw, polystyrene, foam sheets of wall insulation, damp course membrane, wood, rotary air dryer, plastic drainage pipe, aerosol cans, car seat springs, roofing slates, bricks, concrete blocks, metal   parts including reinforcing, bitumen sheeting, electric cable, metal parts, corner reinforcing for plaster board sheets, plastic toilet cistern, plastic sheeting, plastic window frames, plastic plumbing pipes, wallpaper mash, paving slabs, silica canisters, plastic guttering, metal bed frame, metal venting pipes, wooden doors, corrugated iron sheeting, linoleum, metal parts, green plastic banding material propane gas canister, a tyre, plastic bottles, roadwork partition cone, yellow plastic banding, PPE equipment, pipe insulation foam, paint tubs, heavy plant air filter, plastic carpeting and a yellow frame for a display sign on said land otherwise than in accordance with a waste management licence in that you did keep    said waste without the authority of a waste management licence;

CONTRARY to the Environmental Protection Act 1990, Section 33(1)(b)(i)