Colne man prosecuted following ‘appalling’ farm fires

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A Colne man has been sentenced to a 12-month conditional discharge after burning materials on his land.

John Allison, of Hubbs House Farm, in Southfield Lane, was also ordered to pay £225 towards Pendle Council’s prosecution costs when he appeared before Pennine magistrates.

Allison pleaded guilty to two charges of contravening the Clean Air Act, brought by the council’s Environmental Health department. Four charges had been made.

Bonfires on Mr Allison’s land in November 2014 and February 2015 were both in contravention of the Clean Air Act. The waste burned on his land included tractor tyres, plastics and board materials.

Evidence was gathered through the council’s Environmental Health and Environmental Crime teams plus Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service.

Carmela Lo Presti, environmental health officer, said: “Between us and the fire service we gathered enough strong evidence to prosecute Mr Allison.

“We also obtained a number of witness statements which helped to bring about this prosecution.

“We will continue to monitor this site very closely together with colleagues at the Environment Agency and Lancashire County Council.”

These latest prosecutions follow a resolution made at a meeting of Pendle Council’s Executive in November to address issue at Hubbs House Farm deemed serious by councillors, including the dumping of waste and lighting of fires.

Updates on this farm are currently being submitted to every meeting of Pendle Council’s Colne and District Committee, until the site is tidied up and all unlawful activities have ceased.

Waterside ward Liberal Councillors are the first to welcome the successful prosecution, describing the fires on the Colne hillside as “appalling”. However, they have questioned the leniency of the sentence.

They say Pendle Council has co-ordinated action over a number of different problems at Hubbs House Farm with Lancashire County council, the police, the Environment Agency and the fire service.

Town Councillor Janet Whincup lives in the Knotts Lane area. She said: “I am very pleased that action is being taken at last. What is going on at this farm is a serious nuisance to everyone around here.”

And Coun. Tony Greaves, added: “At last we are starting to get somewhere. But I am surprised by the sentence for these fires – only a 12 month conditional discharge.

“If this kind of activity does not warrant a very serious fine, I don’t know what does, when allowing your

dog to do its business in the street can now attract a fine of several hundred pounds.”