Alleged illegal waste site in Northumberland closed down as new powers used for first time in North East

The Environment Agency has blocked access to land in Northumberland to prevent the illegal dumping and burning of waste.

Friday, 9th October 2020, 3:15 pm
Updated Friday, 9th October 2020, 3:19 pm

A court order is now in place prohibiting anyone from entering or depositing waste on the site, at Aln View, Old Swarland, to reduce the impact on the local community while a criminal investigation into activity at the site is ongoing.

It’s the first time the powers have been used in the North East.

The restriction order was obtained at Bedlington Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, October 7.

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The Environment Agency has blocked access to land at Old Swarland.

Environment Agency solicitor Chris Bunting told the court that investigations began in February when reports were received about waste being brought onto the site and burned.

The Environment Agency has now locked the site’s access gate, placing a warning notice at the entrance. Anyone entering the land, or tampering with the lock or notice, will be committing a criminal offence.

John Crowl, Environment Agency enforcement team leader in the North East, said: “We are determined to make life tough for those who damage the environment and blight local communities.

“This is the first time these powers have been used in the North East and demonstrates we will use all of the tools at our disposal to disrupt waste crime.

Waste illegally dumped on land at Old Swarland.

“The order has been put in place following complaints about waste being illegally dumped and burned, and after extensive work together with our partners at Northumbria Police Rural Crime Team and Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service.”

Environment Agency officers visited the site on March 16 and say they saw several piles of waste and evidence of burning.

Letters requiring the site to stop taking in waste and for it to be cleared were sent but the fires continued, say the Environment Agency.

Following a number of visits to the site, a follow up enforcement notice again requiring the site to be cleared was issued in July, and the deadline for that to take place has now passed.

Environment Agency and Northumbria Police locking the gates to the site.

The Environment Agency is working alongside Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service and Northumbria Police in the ongoing criminal investigation.

They have continued to take enforcement action during coronavirus restrictions adhering to all of the latest government guidelines.

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