Derry courthouse at Bishop Street.
A farmer has been fined for failing to comply with a council enforcement notice that asked him to remove waste material and restore land on a floodplain.
Thomas Jamison, whose charge sheet said ‘age unknown’, of Ballygudden Road in Eglinton, pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to comply with an enforcement notice that was issued by Derry City and Strabane District Council on December 18, 2019.
The court heard a field, which was designated as a floodplain in 2008, was used to dump ‘waste’ namely spoils.
The defendant was ordered to remove all waste material, restore the land and sow grass seed within 80 days.
In addition, a fence was to be erected.
During an inspection in June 2020 it was discovered that there was ‘no additional waste’ but other requirements had not been met.
Speaking on behalf of the council, a lawyer said the land was not restored and ‘geotextiles not erected’.
Other inspections were carried out confirming the breach.
The waste filling had been going on since 2017, the lawyer said.
Defence counsel told the court that restoration work is ongoing.
He added that Jamison is part owner of the family farmland.
The defendant carried out works to the land which is used for grazing cattle.
Jamison wasn’t permitted to carry out the works, his legal representative said, and there was a ‘level of ignorance’ on his part.
The court heard that the waste wasn’t hazardous material, it was soil that he was using as landfill to level out the site.
“There was no financial benefit to him,” defence counsel said.
He continued: “I’m instructed that it has had a substantial impact on them in recent times.
“The family are pillars of the community and well thought of.
“There have been issues in recent times in relation to flooding and the family were involved heavily in rescuing people.
“Unfortunately it was put down to ignorance and the family took the chance to rectify the situation.”
District Judge Barney McElholm said: “He should’ve checked if it could be done but the council aren’t alleging environmental damage.”
Jamison was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £50 in legal costs and £34 in court costs.
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