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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Legal heat: Directors face charges over massive tyre yard blaze

Environmental Agency pursues prosecution for pollution and regulatory violations in Bradford and Doncaster Sites

THREE years to the day after a huge blaze at a Bradford tyre storage yard, two people have appeared in court to face charges relating to the site.

Stuart Bedford, 61, of Fairfax Avenue in Harrogate and Vicky Bedford, 51, of Fairgray Close, Ripon, appeared at Bradford and Keighley Magistrates’ Court today when a series of charges were put against them and the company they were involved – Equalityre.

They gave no indication as to what they would plead, and the case will be moved to Bradford Crown Court on 14 December.

A number of the charges, which have been brought by the Environment Agency, relate to a former go-kart track at Spring Mill Street, just outside Bradford City Centre.

On 16 November 2020, a fire began on the site that saw thousands of tyres burn for days. At its height up to 100 firefighters were at the scene and it took a week before it was completely extinguished.

Among the charges are that the pair and Equalityre “kept controlled waste in a manner likely to cause pollution or harm to human health” at the site between 11 May 2020 and 8 April 2021.

Other charges included failing to comply with notices ordering the company to remove tyres from the site and operating a regulated facility without authorisation of an environmental permit.

As well as charges relating to the Bradford site, a series of charges were put to the pair relating to land at the Wright Business Park in Doncaster, including failure to remove controlled waste from that site.

At the time of the alleged offences Mrs Bedford was director of Equalityre, with Mr Bedford appointed to the role in February 2021.

It emerged during the court case that the pair had been living in Spain until recently.

The Environment Agency had begun extradition proceedings against the pair, but the court heard they both returned to the UK under their own volition.

Also appearing in court today was Michael Hughes, 64, of Kingsdale Avenue, Menston – who was representing Licensed Tyre Disposals of Shipley.

That company was charged with handling or transferring controlled waste without taking reasonable measures at Shipley between 11 May 2020 and 7 July 2020.

He also gave no indication of plea and will appear alongside the Bedford’s at next month’s hearing.

Conditions of Mr Bedford’s bail include that he surrenders any ID or documents that would allow him to travel abroad, that he did not plan any international travel, and that he did not attend any airport, seaport or railway station that has services to other countries.

Another condition is that he reports to Harrogate Police Station on a daily basis.

Conditions of Mrs Bedford’s bail are that she surrender her passport and report to Harrogate Police Station three times a week.

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