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Letter: Pirbright Dump – Some Comments About Me Have Been Incorrect

Published on: 8 Jul, 2021
Updated on: 9 Jul, 2021

From: Daniel Hill

In response to comments made on articles relating to the dump at Stoney Castle, Pirbright

Recently Cllr Keith Witham has commented in The Guildford Dragon NEWS discussing the Stoney Castle site owned by my father.  These appeared on May 31, July 4 and July 6. In all three instances, Cllr Witham gave incorrect and misleading information about my conviction in 2018 and subsequent actions.

My conviction is public information and can be verified by contact Guildford Crown Court.

I was convicted of being in control of the Stoney Castle site between 22 November 2015 and 14 November 2016 and not taking adequate steps to prevent the occupiers dumping waste on the site.

Judge Jonathan Black in his Guildford Crown Court Summary of conviction 2018 wrote: “It was not suggested that he did the acts themselves, merely that he was aware that others were doing these acts and he failed to prevent it.”

In November 2019, I was sentenced. At that hearing Surrey County Council, as the prosecuting authority, asked that I be ordered to clear the site. However, I was not convicted of dumping waste and this is what my barrister said: “The defendant is not charged as a person who has an interest in the land.

“In this case, the defendant has not been convicted of failing to remove the waste. He has not been convicted of breaching the duty of care that exists in respect of controlled waste, contrary to section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

“Accordingly, he cannot be automatically regarded as being required by law to remove or dispose of the waste on the land by virtue of the conviction for breaching an enforcement notice.

“The reality is that the facts adduced at the trial demonstrate that he is not responsible for removing the waste.

“The person who has a lawful requirement to remove waste on a land is the person who has an interest in the land. For example, in the event that a notice was served pursuant to section 59 and 59ZA of the Environmental Act 1990, that would be the occupier.”

So these are the facts:

  • I was not convicted of dumping waste;
  • I was not ordered by the court to clear the waste;
  • I was not ordered by the court to prevent the occupiers gaining access to the site;
  • I am not the landowner and I do not have a legal interest in the land;
  • Issues relating to the occupiers dumping waste after November 14, 2016 are not related in any way to me as I am no longer involved with the land;
  • Surrey County council has the legal power to prosecute the occupiers of the site for dumping waste;
  • No action has been taken by Surrey County Council against the occupiers of the site for dumping waste;
  • If the occupiers were to be convicted of dumping the waste they could be ordered by the court to remove the waste because they were the ones who put the waste on the site;
  • I have repeatedly asked for a list of legal actions that I could have taken between November 22, 2015 and November 14, 2016 to prevent the occupiers dumping waste at Stoney Castle, but to date, Surrey County Council has not provided one.

I have been campaigning trying to raise awareness of the actions of the occupiers who continue to dump waste on my father’s land.

I ask that all Surrey residents please sign my petition asking for Surrey County County to prosecute the occupiers for illegal dumping waste at Stoney Castle.

I am in the process of appealing my conviction at the County Court on the grounds that I had no legal powers to stop the occupiers gaining access to the site.

Surely the fact that Mark Bray of The Green Party, Guildford Borough Council and the Environment Agency are discussing buying the land from my father as the only way to stop any illegal dumping, corroborates what I’m saying.

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