Eviction threat over allotment fires

AN allotment tenant is facing eviction and police action as part of a clampdown on illegal waste burning.

Hartlepool Borough Council environmental enforcement officers found electrical cables being burned on a plot at the town’s Catcote Allotments during a spot-check at the site at the weekend.

An eviction notice was issued to one tenant, who was also reported to police, and warning letters were also issued to a number of other tenants around the town who were found to be burning without permits.

A system was recently introduced which allows bonfires on allotments only at certain times, with tenants receiving three warnings if they breach the rules, before being evicted.

Helen Beaman, Hartlepool Borough Council’s environment co-ordinator who manages the allotment service, said: “We hope our actions in pursuing an eviction and issuing warning letters demonstrates our determination not to tolerate breaches of the new permit system.

“The burning of waste material, such as electrical cables, not only causes air pollution, but may also contaminate the allotment soil and affect its long-term fertility.

“Bringing such waste materials on to allotments and disposing of them in this way is strictly forbidden and will result in immediate eviction and possible legal action under the Environmental Protect Act 1990.”

The new rules for allotment holders states fires are only permitted on the first weekend of the month from noon-4pm from October to March and tenants must obtain a permit from the council’s allotments team before starting the fire.

Bonfires cannot be any bigger than 35 cubic feet or must be contained in a metal brazier of around 45 gallons and only organic material may be burned. Burning rubber, plastic, foam or paint is forbidden.

Spot checks will be carried out throughout the winter.

To report a nuisance fire call the allotment team on (01429) 523406 or email: allotments@hartlepool.gov.uk.