Case law: Landowner liable to remove waste on site left by trespasser without consent
Landowners should secure their properties and regularly inspect them to ensure no illegal waste has been deposited there without their consent, or risk being responsible for moving it - even if it was deposited by trespassers – a recent determination makes clear.
This update was published in Legal Alert - June 2019
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A trespasser had built up more than 2,000 tonnes of household and commercial waste on a landowner’s property over almost four years, including food and medical waste, without consent. The landowner reported it to the police, the local waste authority and the Environment Agency.
The local county council alleged there had been a breach of planning control because the permitted use for the site was industrial use, but it was being used for storage of waste. It issued an Enforcement Notice requiring the landowner to remove the waste from the site. The landowner objected but a planning inspector ruled that the landowner had to comply with the Enforcement Notice, despite the waste being deposited by a third-party trespasser.
The landowner appealed against the notice, asking for a deemed planning application for change of use so it could lawfully keep the waste at the property or, alternatively, more time to clear it. Both were refused.
The decision makes clear that landowners who have had waste deposited on their property (even by a trespasser without their consent and even if they have reported this to the authorities), must still comply with any Enforcement Notice requiring them to clear the waste from the site at their own cost.
- Landowners should secure their properties and regularly inspect them to make sure no illegal waste has been deposited there without their consent or risk being responsible for moving it - even if the waste has been deposited by trespassers.
Case Ref: Newark Care (Notts) Limited v Nottingham County Council (reference APP/L3055/C/18/3206116
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