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Date published: 28th September 2016

North Norfolk District Council wins case after debris containing plastic burned

At Great Yarmouth magistrates’ court yesterday (Tuesday September 28) John Uff, director of The Pleasure Boat Inn Ltd, pleaded guilty personally, and on behalf of his company, to the unlawful disposal of waste.

In March 2015, Mr Uff’s contractors burned debris from the removal of, and works to, outbuildings at the Nelson’s Head, Horsey, run by Mr Uff. The debris materials included vinyl flooring, treated wood, plastic and fibreglass insulation.

The court heard how these materials release dangerous compounds when burned and are a risk to health. The incident took place in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Mr Uff was in a position to have the fire extinguished as was present at the early stage of it being lit, but the court heard he threw an item on the fire.

The Prosecution, representing North Norfolk District Council, made the observation that legitimate businesses absorbing the cost of lawful disposal of waste are being put at a disadvantage by those that dispose of their waste unlawfully.

Leader of North Norfolk District Council Cllr Tom FitzPatrick said: “This is an important outcome for the Council. The substantial fines awarded in this case show that these breaches of environmental protection regulation will not be tolerated and are taken seriously by the courts.

“This sends a clear signal to all businesses that failure to dispose of waste properly will not go unpunished."

Mr Uff’s company The Pleasure Boat Inn Ltd was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £1,805 costs and £170 victim surcharge. Mr Uff himself was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £100 victim surcharge. The combined total is £5,575. 

The magistrates found both Mr Uff and the company were reckless and that any person arranging for a contractor also arranges for the disposal of waste. They also noted that any reasonable person knows the burning of plastic is toxic.

Mr Uff attended the hearing on behalf of his company The Pleasure Boat Ltd as the 1st Defendant, and in his personal capacity as the 2nd Defendant.

Mr Uff pleaded guilty to one offence of unlawful disposal of waste (by burning) against the company and against him, contrary to Section 33 Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Last updated: 12th October 2016