Man prosecuted for dumping 1.6 million tyres

The Environment Agency has brought a successful prosecution against a Norfolk man who illegally deposited and stored 1.6 million tyres on an industrial estate.


Johnathan Lewis received a total of 240 hours community service after pleading guilty to keeping the tyres without a waste management licence at Tattersett Business Park, at Sculthorpe in the north of Norfolk. The Environment Agency originally agreed in 1998 that he could start a tyre collection business with a view to reusing them, and that it could operate as an exempt activity under the Waste Management Licensing Regulations, 1994. However, due to the popularity of his service, Lewis began to dump the tyres in an area not covered by the exemption. It took aerial reconnaissance to establish the total number of tyres on the dump.

According to the Eastern Daily Press, residents on a housing estate half a mile from the dump have expressed considerable concern about the safety risk of fire, or from falling tyres. “Nobody appears to be doing anything,” a resident was reported as saying in November. “If that lot was to catch light the community would need to be evacuated; some of the tyres are less than 30 yards from the village shop.”

Lewis was approached on a number of occasions regarding the tyres, and during one such visit, he admitted knowing that he was doing wrong but did not want to let his customers down as well as other people, says the Environment Agency. “Although Mr Lewis was visited by the Agency on many occasions it is disappointing that he did not follow the regulations designed to protect the environment,” said Marcus Sibley, Acting Area Environment Protection Manager. “Companies and individuals who ignore the regulations face prosecution by the Agency.”

An Environment Agency spokesperson explained to edie that, although the eventual fate of the tyres is currently unclear, the organisation’s legal department is looking into the situation.

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