By Denna Bowman
The Earl of Iveagh is facing a £250,000 bill after a million tyres were illegally dumped on his land 10 years ago.
The most senior member of the Guinness family has been landed with the astronomical bill as he struggles to get rid of the last 368,000 tyres that were illegally heaped on the estate by a bent businessman.
And to add insult to injury, despite disposing of nearly two thirds of the million tyres, the earl is being threatened with prosecution by his local council for failing to get the job completed sooner.
For although the tyres were dumped illegally, the law states that it is up to the landowner to clear up the mess.
Around 600,000 tyres have been baled and used elsewhere on the East Anglia estate as a noise-deading “bund” on land near RAF Lakenheath.
But estate managers still have more than 350,000 to deal with. In preparation for their removal they have been made into 3,300 bales covering an area the size of a football pitch and are visible on Google Earth.
Now Bury St Edmund Council is unhappy that hundreds of thousands of tyres still remain on land next to the East of England Military Museum at Barnham and has issued proceedings against the 23,000-acre estate, which stretches into Norfolk, alleging that it is in breach of an enforcement order issued in 2004.
A council spokesman said: “There are still 368,000 tyres left on the site and the original notice we issued stated that they all had to be removed by October 2006.”
Jim Rudderham, the estate manager, said they were “working hard” to clear the site and had obtained all the necessary permissions to bale and move the remaining tyres.
He added: “There were originally more than a million of them and it is an extremely time-consuming and expensive operation.
“We don’t know yet what the final bill will be but it will be well in excess of a quarter of a million pounds.”
In 2002, businessman Timothy Phillips was jailed for two months after being convicted of operating without a waste management licence and dumping hundreds of thousands of tyres on several sites in East Anglia.
He was said to have handled up to one million tyres a year through three unlicensed companies.