Man fined for failing to clear nature reserve site

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A man from Waltham Abbey has been prosecuted by Epping Forest District Council for failing to clear waste that was adversely affecting the character and visual attractiveness of land within Roding Valley Meadow Local Nature Reserve.


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Former underground bunker site

Mr Raymond Sturgess of Stanford Court in Waltham Abbey was successfully prosecuted in June 2018. He failed to respond to a notice served on him requiring him to remove waste, plastic, card, building materials and household items from the former Royal Observer Corps underground bunker site, which he originally intended to renovate when it was bought in 2015.


Sturgess pleaded guilty and received a reduced fine of £200, was ordered to pay £200 towards the Council’s prosecution costs together with a statutory victim surcharge of £30.

Ample time to comply

During mitigation Mr Sturgess told the Magistrates that was unable to comply with the notice because he had injured his knee, he claimed that vandals and fly-tippers had gained access to the site and were responsible for the mess.

The Magistrate concluded that Sturgess had ample time to comply with the notice and they did not accept everything he had told them.

Largest remaining water meadow

The bunker site sits within the Roding Valley Meadow Local Nature Reserve. The Wildlife Trust manage the site and describe it as ‘the largest remaining water meadow in Essex’.

It is reputedly famous for it’s beautiful wild flowers, butterflies, invertebrates and birds. It is important that this site is preserved for its resident wildlife and for future generations to enjoy.