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Warnings ignored - Council successfully prosecutes

Published on Tuesday, 19th April 2016

Mark Wells, the owner & operator of Weston Lawns Farm on Bedworth Road in Bulkington, has been successfully prosecuted by Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council for persistently having large bonfires.

In the first prosecution case of its kind pursued by the Council, Mr Wells pleaded guilty at Nuneaton Magistrates Court to two offences of breaching a Community Protection Notice served by the Council under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 - new legislation intended to protect the quality of life of residents in such circumstances.

The Council’s Environmental Health Team had received a number of complaints about large fires at the farm through the spring and summer of 2015 and, after investigating, found that the fires were detrimental to the quality of life of those in the locality due to the smoke, smell and the effect on air quality.  

Despite a series of warnings, the fires continued and the Council were left with no option but to serve a Community Protection Notice which prohibited further fires. The notice was subsequently breached so the Council decided to pursue enforcement action in the Magistrates Court. Upon the guilty plea the Court issued a fine of £400 and £480 for the first and second offences respectively, awarded costs to the Council of £954.10 and a victim surcharge of £48, giving a total of £1882.10.   

“Where the Council finds individuals or businesses acting in a way that is anti-social and having a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality, it will intervene to prevent the behaviour continuing. Normally, informal action is sufficient to resolve the matter but in this case the fires persisted over an extended period of time despite warnings and extensive efforts to resolve the matter informally. 

Bonfires often cause a nuisance to people because of the smoke and smell they generate and because they pollute the air quality in the local area. As such, residents and businesses should always find an alternative legal means of disposing of waste. 

This prosecution demonstrates that the Council will act to secure the quality of the local environment, and the level of fine imposed by the Court should be a deterrent to those who persist in behaving in an anti-social way.

Ian Powell, Director of Regeneration and Public Protection