Illegal waste burning results in restriction of liberty order for unlicensed waste operator in Fife

date18 June 2015

A Fife waste operator has been sentenced today (18 June 2015). The Sheriff imposed a restriction of liberty order on Alan Blyth for eight months with the condition that he remains within his dwelling address between the hours of 10pm and 5am the following morning.

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Alan Blyth pled guilty on 10 April 2015 at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court to keeping controlled waste at his site in Leven without a Waste Management Licence. The matter was investigated by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and a report was sent to the Procurator Fiscal. Sentence was deferred until 18 June 2015.

SEPA officers attended Balmain Farm on 7 September 2012 as part of ongoing investigations into operations at the site.  While on site they observed several tonnes of white waste plasterboard which was smouldering and approximately 20-30 tonnes of soil mixed with construction and demolition waste.

During a further site visit on 11 October 2012 SEPA officers observed what appeared to be the same wastes, but that they had been burnt further. Samples were taken and some wastes were traced to the demolition of a Falkland care home which Alan Blyth had been involved in the removal of waste from.

Judith Moore, SEPA’s Fife team manager, said:

Mr Blyth had been previously told by SEPA officers that he could not bring wastes on site, or burn wastes, without an appropriate waste management licence or exemption. A waste management licence would require specific conditions to be met to ensure that waste was stored appropriately and was not a risk to the environment.

“Only very specific waste types may be burned under a waste management exemption. The disposal of plasterboard by burning is not permitted under an exemption and would not be authorised by SEPA. Due to its gypsum mineral component, it has a high sulphur content and improper disposal can give rise to emissions of hydrogen sulphide, which is a toxic and odorous gas.

“By illegally keeping and burning this waste Mr Blyth has not only posed an unacceptable risk to the environment, he has not paid the appropriate disposal costs at a registered landfill, or the fees for a Waste Management Licence. This would give him a financial benefit over operators who ensure they have the correct licences in place and fulfil their environmental responsibilities.”

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Notes to editors

The exact charge Alan Blyth pled guilty to was:

  • Between 7 September 2012 and 11 October 2012 , both      dates inclusive at Balmain Farm, Leven, Fife you ALAN WILLIAM TULLIS BLYTH      did keep controlled waste namely plasterboard with wall coverings, soil      mixed with construction/demolition waste including bricks, concrete and      rubble, tiles, metal (paint tins), plastic and piles of waste wood to be      kept in or on said land otherwise than in accordance with a waste      management licence in that you did keep said controlled waste or knowingly      permit controlled waste to be kept CONTRARY to the Environmental      Protection Act 1990, Section 33(1)(b)