27 January 2020

Threat of private prosecution clears Bridgend fly-tipping

Fly-tipping on common land near Bridgend was swiftly cleared after HCR lawyers Bryn Thomas and Aled Owen developed a solution to stop, punish and address those causing the problem. The offender, identified through the waste they dumped, was threatened with a private environmental prosecution on behalf of HCR’s client, the Coity Wallia Commoners Association (CWCA).

The Association faced having to clear up the paper waste scattered near Bryncethin on the common land they own and manage, and where they graze sheep, after it was made clear that neither South Wales Police nor Bridgend County Borough Council intended to pursue a prosecution.

Bryn Thomas said: “The CWCA came to us for advice and we talked through the merits of a private prosecution. A letter to the offender, who was identifiable from papers in the waste and who lived in the Bridgend area, started the process; I then went to Cardiff magistrates court so that they could issue a summons, and then the offender paid up, which was a great result for the CWCA.

“Private prosecutions are not often used in these cases, but it was very effective and it means that the Association doesn’t have to find the £600 clear-up and legal costs.”

Waste dumped on farmland is often a low priority for local authorities and this is an innovative way to protect the rights of commoners, farmers and landowners. The CWCA, which is considering investing further to combat fly tipping on the commons because of this success, even without police and council support, has urged other commoners’ associations to take positive, direct action, with the expert advice that they received.

Huw Griffiths, secretary of the CWCA said: “Fly tipping is a national problem on common land and we are delighted that the threat of private prosecution forced the offender to take responsibility for his actions by paying the clear up and legal costs associated with the illegal deposit of waste. We will be instructing HCR again and would like to thank Aled and Bryn in the regulatory team for their specialist guidance and representation.”

HCR has more than 500 staff and partners based at offices in Cardiff, the Wye Valley, Worcester, Hereford, Cheltenham, Birmingham, Cambridge, the Thames Valley and central London, who provide a complete spectrum of legal services to both business and private clients, regionally and nationwide. The firm also has a number of highly successful teams specialising in individual market sectors, including health and social care, education, technology, agricultural and rural affairs, finance and financial services, defence, security and the forces, and construction.

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Bryn Thomas, Partner
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