Yardley MP John Hemming loses case against Birmingham City Council over uncollected green wastes bags.

JS36185102In 2007 Birmingham City Council introduced a free green waste collection service.

They provided residents with plastic sacks and asked them to place these outside in the street for collection.

While this made for easy collection it was a breach by the council of S33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.  This makes it illegal for a householder to deposit waste outside of the curtilage of his home and for councils to permit people to do this.

This  back-fired on them when earlier this year they started to charge households for collecting their green waste. Many residents, with unused bags,  continued to fill them with waste and leave, i.e. fly-tip, them out in the street.

BCC’s response was to label the bags with a request for the resident to remove them and to leaflet neighbouring properties. If any bags remained in situ they said they would undertake further work and consider enforcement action. Only when they had completed their investigations would they then remove the waste.


John Hemming MP

MP for Yardley, John Hemming, notified BCC of 388 such dumps in his constituency and received this response from them.

He argued that BCC were in breach of Environmental Protection Act S89(1), the duty to ensure, so far as is practicable , that land is kept free of litter and refuse.

In May 2014 Mr Hemming  applied to the Magistrates Court for an order under EPA S91 requiring BCC to clean away the refuse.

The case came to court on 10th October. I was privliged to act a his MacKenzie Friend in Court. Not only did the court not issue an order but concluded that Mr Hemming had not acted reasonably. He was consequentially obliged to pay BCC’s costs of £13,101.

He appealed to the High Court and then to the Court of Appeal. One of his arguments was that contrary to the Aarhus convention he not been given a reasonably priced and fair basis upon which to challenge the failures of a public authoritiy on an environmental issues. This appeal was lost on 19th July 2016.

23rd August 2016 he submitted an appeal to the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee.

Birmingham Mail Articles:

Council gardeners mow grass verges – but AVOID dumped bags
Brum’s garden tax plan sowing the seeds of chaos, says councillor
MP John Hemming ordered to pay £13k costs after ‘garden tax’ court case fails

Lawyer article


Peter Silverman
16th October 2014

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