Giant junk mountain

Industrial waste tip at Farrar Mill Yard, Farrar Mill Lane, Siddal.
Industrial waste tip at Farrar Mill Yard, Farrar Mill Lane, Siddal.

David Turner had a permit for 50 cubic metres of waste on his disposal site at Farrar Mill, Siddal, Halifax.

But a court heard officers last April found 7,464 cubic metres of junk – 150 times the amount allowed.

Leeds Crown Court saw a DVD showing mounds of rubble, waste and wood piled more than 36-ft high.

During their investigation officers sent Turner, 51, of Broad Ings farm, Rishworth, four advisory letters, a warning letter and completed six site inspections.

Among the waste they found was 1,826 cubic metres of wood, around 20m in length and 10m high – a massive fire hazard.

Officers found overflowing skips both on and off the site and a gas survey found raised levels of carbon dioxide and nitrogen.

On an earlier visit in December 2008, one officers spotted household waste, windows, soil and rubble as well as filing cabinets, vehicle batteries and plastic waste at the site, which neighbours Hebble Brook and Haigh Lane.

They also saw green paint leaking into a brook.

Diana Maudslay, prosecuting, said: “The waste stored in the skips alone, not including any waste elsewhere on the site, exceeded 50 cubic metres.”

On a later visit officers counted 48 skips.

The mounds of decomposing waste spanned two thirds of the land and its weight had pushed over a fence.

The DVD included night-time shots where gas could be seen rising from the rubbish.

Turner, representing himself, said: “We had some full skips on site which we were waiting to recycle but there weren’t that many.”

He said all the waste, except the masses of wood, had been treated and was a “product” and not waste.

“It isn’t the case that I’m just piling it up. When it gets to certain times in the year you have to pile it up to wait for better weather,” he said.

He said his company had been struggling financially and was losing £100,000 a year.

Turner admitted 12 offences of breaching environmental orders.

He was originally sentenced at Calderdale Magistrates’ Court in July. Days after being told he was given a prison sentence of 12 months, suspended for two years, a legwal clerk realised the sentence was beyond magistrates’ ing powers.

Judge Roger Ibbotson said: “I am not unsympathetic with Mr Turner. He’s got a gargantuan task on his hands.”

He said he would resentence Turner within magistrates’ guidelines because he had already been sentenced once.

Turner was given a six-month sentence, suspended for two years.

He was told to pay £15,000 towards the £22,500 cost of the investigation and given a six-month supervision order.

The court heard Turner had begun to remove some of the waste but it did not make an order to force him to clear it up because negotitations were ongoing.