Press release

Imprisonment for Norfolk illegal waste owner

Operator breached planning and environmental rules

The very large pile of rubbish at North Runcton
The very large pile of rubbish at North Runcton

Waste operator Mark Edward Fuller has been sentenced to 15 months imprisonment for running an illegal waste site in North Runcton, Norfolk.

Norwich Crown Court heard yesterday (17 Mar) that he ran the illegal site for more than a year from Manor Farm in Common Lane without planning permission and without an environmental permit to deposit, store, dispose and treat waste.

In September 2010 Norfolk County Council served an enforcement notice on Fuller requiring him to stop taking waste onto the land and processing the waste. The waste included construction and wood waste. The enforcement notice was issued because the unauthorised uses were in the open countryside and their scale, form and mass cause harm to the landscape and amenity.

The notice was appealed by Fuller in August 2011, the court heard, but the Planning Inspector upheld the enforcement notice.

Fuller then lodged an unsuccessful application for permission to appeal against the Inspector’s decision with the High Court which delayed the effective date of the Enforcement Notice.

Mr Mark Watson, prosecuting on behalf of Norfolk County Council and the Environment Agency, told the court that despite correspondence, discussions, meetings and site visits by Environment Agency and Norfolk County Council officers, Fuller failed to respond to advice and continued to operate illegally.

In November 2012, Environment Agency and council officers inspected the site and found a large stockpile of wood waste, amounting to many thousands of tonnes and between 12 and 15 metres in height. Additionally there had been thousands of tonnes of waste soil and construction and demolition waste imported and stockpiled.

Fuller told investigating officers that he had not received the letters from the Environment Agency and said until officers visited him in November 2012, he thought the operation was legal.

Commenting after the case, Enforcement Team Leader Phil Henderson said:

The operation of illegal waste sites pose significant risk to our environment and local communities, particularly where this involves the wholesale stockpiling of waste, as in this case.

This sentence reflects the seriousness with which the Environment Agency, our partners and the courts view this type of criminal offending and we will seek to prosecute those involved wherever possible. Operators need to ensure that they obtain the appropriate permission to operate waste sites and comply with the conditions of their permit.

County Council officer Mike Adams said:

This is a case that has stretched the powers of planning enforcement to the limit. The defendant refused to engage with the planning system; appeals, including High Court challenges with very little merit were designed to frustrate the enforcement procedure and have lengthened and increased the cost of this process.

Three days after pleading guilty, Norfolk County Council’s investigations confirmed that Mr Fuller was continuing to breach the Enforcement Notice. The Council is determined that this type of activity will not be allowed to continue in such a sensitive location.

His honour Judge Bate thanked all the officers for their patience and hard work in this matter.

Fuller pleaded guilty to:

Three counts:

  1. Mark Edward Fuller on and between 1 November 2012 and 17 June 2013, being a person who had control of or an interest in land at Manor Farm, Common Lane, North Runcton, Norfolk (“the site”) did fail to comply with an Enforcement Notice in relation to the site dated 29 September 2010 and taking effect on 4 October 2012 in that Waste Category 1 and 2 material was imported on to the site.

Failure to comply with an enforcement notice requiring the discontinuance of a use of land, contrary to section 179(4) and (5) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, as amended.

  1. Mark Edward Fuller on and between 30 November 2012 and 17 June 2013, being a person who had control of or an interest in land at Manor Farm, Common Lane, North Runcton, Norfolk (“the site”) did fail to comply with an Enforcement Notice in relation to the site dated 29 September 2010 and taking effect on 4 October 2012 in that Waste Category 1 and 2 material was deposited, stored, handled, processed and transferred on the site..

Failure to comply with an enforcement notice requiring the discontinuance of a use of land, contrary to section 179(4) and (5) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, as amended.

  1. Mark Edward Fuller between 6 April 2012 and 4 July 2013 on land at Manor Farm, Common Lane, North Runcton, Norfolk, operated a regulated facility for the deposit, storage, treatment and disposal of waste without there being in force, and without being authorised by, an environmental permit.

Operating a regulated facility without being authorised by an environmental permit, contrary to Regulation 12(1)(a) and 38(1)(a) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010

Published 21 March 2016