After an unsuccessful claim for damages based on the disruption of their lives by a nearby landfill, one group of residents from Ware recently lost their battle for personal injury compensation in the High Court.
In a case that represented more than 150 families from the Vicarage Estate, and brought by thirty lead personal injury claim claimants, Mr Justice Coulson rejected it with the ruling that the claims were almost certainly bound to fail. The judge stated that this was because the claimants failed to allege negligence on the part of Biffa Waste Services for the Westmill 2 landfill site. Mr Justice Coulson however did not agree with the allegation on Biffa’s part that there had been a great exaggeration to the claimant’s injury claims.
The Ware residents had been hoping the judge would rule that the foul smell that had been emanating from the site between July of 2004 and October of 2009 would be legally classified as a nuisance. The judge had been told that the residents had sustained significant losses in regards to the enjoyment of their properties when the case was heard last year.
However Biffa’s injury solicitors claimed that the lawsuit filed against the firm was both wholly unjustified and unwarranted. Safety, environment, and external affairs director for Biffa Waste, David Savory, also stated that the claimants had been part of the so-called ‘compensation culture’ in his testimony. However the judge rejected this allegation.
Mr Justice Coulson stated that the evidence supports that the residents had repeatedly insisted that for much of the time that they had no particular interest in financial compensation but were merely interested in the elimination of the foul odour. These residents were only attempting to assert what they felt to be their rights because it seemed that no one else – the Environment Agency and Biffa included – seemed to do more than pay lip service to the community, the judge added.