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The voice of the skip hire, recycling and waste industries in the UK & Ireland.

Seeking Counsel by Philip Jones, Legal Expert

BY PHILIP JONES

Summer seems finally to be upon us. For most British people, the quintessential vision of summer is Pimm’s on the lawn and tennis, or even perhaps motorway jams.

Unfortunately for the waste industry and operators, summer can only mean one thing – flies.

Recently, I came across a waste site where complaints had been received. The site was the subject of a fly infestation, and this was impacting on the surrounding area.

In this case – as is very common – the “fly” or insect infestation started to occur due to the operator failing to take some fairly simple precautionary measures.  If these had been taken in advance, the operator would have avoided complaints and exposure to the environmental, or any other, regulatory agency.

Measures which I have come across, that could be taken include the following:

  • Ensure any waste brought onto site is “permitted” to be there, and is not of the type that would attract flies.
  • Implement the periodic use of insecticides, via regular spraying
  • Containment followed by the immediate sorting of permitted waste, added to the use of insecticide type paint.

It becomes more problematical when ongoing complaints and matters escalate, so that they involve local authorities or the Environment Agency

In my most recent case and in my previous experiences of the issue, what usually tends to happen is the operator will be served with an Abatement Notice, alleging a Statutory Nuisance

Such an Abatement Notice should give the operator time to put right the source of the nuisance.

Whilst the service of such a notice should obviously be of concern to an operator (as it may lead to enforcement), prosecution is the real danger. Once the company is on the “radar,” the operator usually finds waste coding and permit conditions comes under scrutiny.

The best advice that can be given to an operator to avoid an escalation, or avoid a hornets’ nest, is to examine the following:

Look to the source of the fly or any other insect/vermin investigation, and stop the point of source

Consider revising any existing fly or insect/vermin control policies and EMS, so as to remove the concerns of the agency.

Spending – or making a modest investment in adequate preventive measures for fly, insect or vermin control from the outset, will serve to avoid far greater enforcement legal costs later. Albeit this may even put me out of a job!

 The Legalities

By way of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the local authority or Environmental Agency has power under Section 79 – 82 to deal with statutory nuisances.

Upon detection of a statutory nuisance, the Local Authority or the Environmental Agency should provide the offender with an Abatement Notice under Section 80 of the EPA.

The Abatement Notice may be dismissed, or varied on appeal. The appeal lies normally, by way to the Magistrates Court, within a period of 21 days from the date of service.

Whether there is a statutory nuisance or not, is a question of fact. Once the Local Authority or Environment Agency is satisfied (on the balance of probability) a statutory nuisance has occurred, they have a duty to serve an Abatement Notice.


CIVIL LAW

Since joining the Bar, Philip has developed extensive experience of all forms of civil litigation. He acts for both claimant and defendant clients. The breadth of his experience includes personal injury, road traffic accident claims including LVI and allegations of fraud, employers and occupiers liability claims, industrial disease and deafness, consumer litigation and credit hire.

Arising from his experience gained whilst he worked for the Environment Agency, Philip receives instructions on regulatory and planning issues. His experience within these areas is mainly focused on compliance and enforcement matters together with regulatory waste management and waste permit issues. In addition Philip undertakes representation at planning appeals and enquiries along with instructions concerning other ares of regulatory work such as Transport Law.

He is able to deal with such matters at all levels, from Small Claims through to Multi Track hearings. His work as an advocate takes him to Courts and Tribunals both regionally and nationally.

Despite being dyslexic, Philip is a skilled advocate. He accepts instructions to draft pleadings and for the provision of advice both written and in conference.

Philip also has a strong following arising from his costs practice.

 

LOCAL AUTHORITY

Philip was formally a local authority Solicitor practicing in the fields of care proceedings, housing and mental health law. He continues to accept instructions in these fields.