A farmer has been ordered to pay £6,000 in fines and costs after failing to take illegal waste away from his land in North Devon.
The Environment Agency (EA) brought the case against Peter Ford after receiving a report in June 2011 that waste was being tipped and burnt at Huntacott Farm, Chulmleigh.
The agency found waste including: soil, stone and construction rubble, asbestos roofing sheets, old tyres, kitchen units, white goods, electrical wiring, glass sheets and corrugated iron sheeting. Burning the waste had damaged nearby trees and bushes.
An EA officer returned to the Ford’s farm in October 2011 to find the field of waste field levelled out. There was evidence that the waste had been buried including the smell of organic waste. The waste had partially blocked a nearby stream and the remains of burnt tyres were found nearby.
In November 2011 the agency dug trenches at the site exposing several more types of waste.
An estimated 50 to 100 tonnes of waste had been illegally tipped. The tip was over three metres high in places and sloped towards the stream. Cows were also feeding nearby and scratching on the asbestos sheets.
In January 2012, Ford admitted tipping waste at the farm including concrete blocks, stones and soil, but claimed the rest of it had been fly-tipped. He agreed to move the waste by the end of October.
The waste was still there during a further inspection in January 2013, resulting in the prosecution. Appearing before Barnstaple magistrates, Peter Ford was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 costs after pleading guilty to an offence under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 of failing to comply with an Agency notice to remove waste.
Matt O’Brien from the EA said: “Farmers must not tip and illegally dispose of waste on their land, especially near streams as any pollution can spread and harm the environment. The defendant had every opportunity to remove these wastes, but failed to do so and we were left with no alternative other than to prosecute.”