Illegal waste tipping costs stables operator £12,000

A stables operator has been ordered by a court to pay more than £12,000 in fines and costs for breaching County Council orders about illegal waste tipping.

Dean Prater, who breedshorses and runs stables at Rhencullen Farm near Wendover,imported and tippeda large volumeof waste material – believed to be as much as 20,000 tonnes – to level a steep slope to create extra grazing land next door to Bradnidge Wood, part of Dancersend Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

But hedidn’t have planning permission, so Buckinghamshire County Council served him with enforcement notices to stop tipping and to remove what had already been tipped.He failed to comply.

Wycombe magistrates on Tuesday 9 February fined Mr Prater £1,760 for disobeying the orders, and ordered him to pay a total of £10,699.60 in costs and victim surcharge. He had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing in November.

The court heard theillegal tipping was reported to the County Council in autumn 2014 by a volunteer warden at the nearby Dancersend Nature Reserve, who spotted lorries taking earth, rubble and building refuse into Rhencullen Farm.

When Principal Enforcement Officer Olivia Stapleford visited Mr Prater in October 2014, she sawthe large expanse of tipped material, and asked him to provide evidence of planning permission, but he wasn’t able to.

So the County Council served enforcement and stop notices on November 17, but a week later, the court was told, Mrs Stapleford revisited the farm to find waste tipping was continuing.

Magistrates heard that in the eight months between December 2014 and July 2015 – with as many visits by Mrs Stapleford – Mr Prater had still not complied with theenforcement order to remove the waste, although he had hired a planning consultant to submit a retrospective planning application.

The application reached the County Council inJanuary this year, and was considered by the Development Control Committee on the same day as the court hearing.

But underthe rarely usedSection 70c of the Town and Country Planning Act, researched by Mrs Stapleford, the committee unanimously agreed not to determine his retrospective application, as an enforcement noticeto get rid of the tipped wastewas still in force.

County council enforcement officers will monitor Mr Prater’s progress in removing the waste and returning the land to its original state, and will consider further legal action if necessary.

Warren Whyte, Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning, said: ‘I’m delighted with the court’s sentence, whichgives a clear message that we will not tolerate breaches of planningregulations, all the more important where it threatens contamination or damageto our special environment, wildlife and woodland.

‘The successful prosecution is due in no small measure toour Enforcement Officer’sthorough investigation and persistent pursuit of compliance with our orders.’