Farmer fined £9000 for waste offence


A FARMER was fined £9000 yesterday after pleading guilty of managing and disposing of controlled waste at his farm in the Aberdeenshire town of Oldmeldrum.

Ian Davidson pled guilty at Aberdeen Sheriff Court of managing and disposing of mixed domestic and agricultural wastes, in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health, at Moss-side Farm, Oldmeldrum.  The matter was investigated by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and a subsequent report prepared for the Procurator Fiscal.

In March 2009, SEPA investigating Officers visited Moss-side Farm in response to a public complaint in regard to the disposal and burning of waste at the site.  Following the initial investigation SEPA issued a formal warning letter to Mr Davidson, who at that time complied with its terms, tidied the site and removed the offending wastes.

However, following further public complaints in July 2010, February 2011 and March 2011, it became apparent that controlled waste was continuing to be inappropriately stored and disposed of at the farm.

Animal food, oil filters, stones, fertiliser, electrical equipment, furniture and other domestic and agricultural waste were all discovered at the site throughout this period.

SEPA investigating officers carried out a further visit in March 2011 and, despite Mr Davidson receiving previous warnings and guidance from SEPA, it was evident that controlled waste was still being managed and disposed of on the site without a relevant licence.

Michael Buchan, SEPA’s investigating and reporting officer, said: “Despite SEPA’s efforts to achieve compliance, Mr Davidson has persisted in carrying out this illegal activity, which can have serious repercussions for the environment, and has done so without any form of licence or permit.

“A large percentage of domestic and agricultural waste is biodegradable and can decompose to produce dangerous pollutants including leachate and fugitive gas emissions. These characteristics can severely affect local air, land and water quality and demonstrate why such waste must be strictly controlled by environmental legislation.

“It appears Mr Davidson has never taken this into consideration and his prosecution should serve as a strong reminder that practices which do not meet environmental legislation will be punished accordingly.”