Conisborough Injunction against Doncaster Rural District Council

November 1917

Sheffield Daily Telegraph – Wednesday 07 November 1917

Conisborough Injunction

In the Chancery Division yesterday, Mr. Justice Astbury gave judgment in the claim of the Great Central Railway Company and Mr. Richards, their stationmaster Conisborough, for an injunction to restrain the Doncaster Rural District Council from tipping offensive refuse in a field adjoining the station so as to cause a nuisance.

Defendants said no nuisance had existed, or alternatively that it had ceased to exist since the action was brought.

His Lordship said the defendant Council were obviously in many difficulties with regard to the disposal of refuse reason of the war and the shortage of labour, and the refusal of the Local Government Board and Ministry of Munitions to grant facilities for erecting a destructor did not diminish their difficulties. Both sides had thought fit to fight out the action, and one would have thought it was matter for adjustment, especially at a time like the present.

The plaintiffs had called 29 and the defendants 24 witnesses, and a more extraordinary conflict of evidence it would be impossible to imagine.

Plaintiffs’ witnesses had said that the tip had been an intolerable nuisance, and that some of them had been made actually sick, and he was unable to believe that they would give evidence intentionally false, or that they were the victims of their imagination or of exaggerated views. Although the conflict of evidence had caused him some anxiety and bewilderment, he was unable to take the view that defendant’s counsel asked him to take, namely, that, plaintiffs’ witnesses were imagining what they said they smelt. He had arrived at the conclusion that the tip was, in fact, a legal nuisance the plaintiffs “at and subsequent to the issue of the writ, by reason of the offensive smell emanating from it, and was a danger to health from flies.

The plaintiffs were entitled to the injunction asked, but having regard to the exceptional conditions now prevailing, and to the refusal of the Local Government Board and the Ministry of Munitions, he would suspend the operation of the injunction until six months after the expiration of the war, subject to the defendants undertaking to continue to cover the refuse immediately after tipping with at least nine inches of earth.

Defendants would pay the costs of the action.