Monday January 18th 2016
On Saturday Damhead residents, the Community Council, Damheads farmers, food producers and neighbouring communities stood in protest at the site of £2 Million worth of illegally dumped waste.
They are demanding that the land in Damhead be respected and want to see action against these kinds of crimes. They say there needs to be an end to the polluting of our green land and the communities who are striving to create a green future, supporting land based industry, food growing networks and connection to food production need to be supported and cherished by councils and government.
SEPA have been involved in the situation and the landlord has been told to clean the land where chemicals were also included in the illegal dumping. However, no action has been taken so far. Community councilors and members of the community observed the waste being covered up when the new KFC was developed. When challenges were made as to why they were piling earth on top of the illegally dumped waste they were told it was for aesthetic reasons for KFC customers.
However, protesters say whereas the KFC customers would only ever observe one side of this dump, there has been an attempt to cover every side and top in mounds of earth, so they are asking why was it covered and what is someone trying to hide. They are calling for the site to be cleaned up properly.
In Ocotber 2015, James Cunningham, a former waste site operator in Loanhead was sentenced to a community payback order of 180 hours at Edinburgh Sheriff Court after a site investigation by Scotland’s environment watchdog found that waste was being deposited and kept there without the required permissions.
At the time of the prosecution Michael Smith, SEPA’s reporting officer, said:
“It seems that Mr Cunningham was depositing waste at the Clippens with no intention of removing it to a licensed waste site. Now that he has ceased trading it is the landowners who are now responsible for the waste, which will cost a significant amount to remove.
“We hope that this prosecution sends a very strong message to those who are running similar sites around the country. We will always try to help operators understand their responsibilities, and will work with them to get their site compliant with the law. However, ongoing disregard for environmental legislation will not be tolerated by SEPA, and we will not hesitate to refer cases like this to the Procurator Fiscal.”
Today a spokeswoman for Midlothian Council said to Midlothian View: “A Planning Enforcement Notice for this site was served requiring the removal of waste stored at some of the yards at the Clippens.
“The Planning Enforcement Notice was served on the landowner and the operator of the waste transfer business on 17 November 2011. After the notice was served the Council secured the removal of waste from Yards 4, 7 and the track area and have ensured no further waste has been brought onto the site.
“Waste remains in Yards 2 and 3 and part of Yard 1. The Council have agreed extensions for the compliance date to encourage the remaining waste to be removed from the site. The current compliance period for the notice has been extended to 1 February 2016.”
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