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Fears that dumped waste could be set to stay

The waste pile at Bowbridge Road, Newark. 130917LSP1-2
The waste pile at Bowbridge Road, Newark. 130917LSP1-2

Two thousand tonnes of waste dumped in Newark look set to remain for some time to come.

It has been revealed that no prosecutions are to be brought in relation to the dumping of waste at a site on Bowbridge Road more than 2½ years ago.

The Environment Agency raided two sites in Newark ­— Bowbridge Road and at Quarry Farm, Bowbridge Lane ­— in March 2015 as part of Operation Encore, targetting what it understood to be the illegal dumping of waste on an industrial scale nationally to avoid landfill costs.

The Environment Agency seeks clear-up costs from landowners or operators for the illegal dumping of waste following successful prosecutions.

The clear-up cost at Bowbridge Road could be up to £200,000.

A woman living opposite the waste pile said: “It is pathetic. It has been going on for so many years.

“I think it will be a health hazard. How long before the bags begin to split?

“I don’t expect any resolution the way things are going.”

Newark MP Mr Robert Jenrick described the failure of Operation Encore to hold anyone to account as a national scandal that would do nothing to deter the dumping of waste.

Rubbish contained in huge sacks began appearing on Bowbridge Road in February, 2015, and grew over the space of a month.

Operation Encore centred around possible connections to an abandoned waste transfer site in Orpington, Kent.

It looked into allegations operators were taking waste from either legitimate companies that believed they were paying for it to be properly disposed of, or from unscrupulous ones that did not care where it ended up.

There were other raids in Bristol and Scunthorpe and a total of six arrests were made, one in Newark.

None of the six will face criminal charges.

Other residents spoke of their frustration this week.

“I hope somebody clears it because it is disgusting,” said one man.

Another said: “It smells in the summer if the wind is blowing in this direction.

“The trouble is it is going to cost them more to clear it than it is to build on it.”

He feared it would be toxic if it caught fire.

'This site has been the cause of real distress for residents'

The Environment Agency has previously stated that the waste was not hazardous to public health. It is now screened from the road by an earth bund.

The agency told the Advertiser: “Following a criminal investigation into the deposit of alleged illegal waste materials at 293 Bowbridge Road, Newark, our lawyers conducted a lengthy review of the evidence gathered and have concluded the evidence does not satisfy the evidential test as required under the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

“We are therefore not taking forward prosecution.

“We have also considered other powers that might be available to enforce removal of the material on site, but do not believe the evidence is sufficient to pursue such action at this time.

“If the position changes we will, of course, review any options we may have.

“We know the impact that waste crime has on communities and always seek to ensure the polluter pays for the clean-up costs.

“We appreciate this site has been the cause of real distress for residents.”

It did not answer a question about whether the failure of Operation Encore was embarrassing and said it would need more time to provide costs of the investigation.

“I was very angry when I heard that the Environment Agency’s investigation and prosecution had fallen down,” Mr Jenrick said.

“This is an abject failure and a national scandal.

“The residents of this part of Newark have been let down.”

Mr Jenrick feared the waste mountain represented a risk of fire and pollution.

“It is a sorry story. Residents are going to have to wait a long time to see it resolved,” he said.

Mr Jenrick said he would take up the issue with Environment Secretary Mr Michael Gove.

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