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Farmer and haulier fined for tipping waste

26 July 2023

A FARMER who allowed waste over his permit level to be deposited on his land and the hauliers who took most of the waste to the farm have been in court where, between them, it has cost more than £120,000.

Philip Skelley, 63, of Higher Bughill Farm, Shaugh Prior, Plympton, appeared before Plymouth crown court on 19 July, when he was fined £1,340, ordered to pay £94,000 for the economic benefit he gained, plus costs totalling £6,380, after earlier pleading guilty to operating a waste facility without an environmental permit.

Haulage company, K.P.T. (SW) Ltd, also of Plympton, was ordered to pay a fine of £6,667 after pleading guilty to depositing controlled waste. The company was also ordered to pay a total of £3,180 in costs and a further £11,109 for the economic benefit gained from the offending. The company’s case was heard in front of Plymouth magistrates’ court on 17 July, and magistrates ordered the company to pay the entire sum within eight weeks.

The courts heard that Skelley had a U1 exemption certificate allowing for up to 1,000 tonnes of soil and stones to be deposited on his land. But an inspection by the Environment Agency found that between January 2019 and October 2020, more than 14,500 tonnes had been deposited, the majority of that by K.P.T. (SW) Ltd.

The cases were brought to the courts by the Environment Agency.

Skelley told the Agency that much of the waste was to be used to extend a car park for events at the site and for a bale storage area. He said he had relied on a friend to apply and operate the exemption permit.

After his friend said he had helped out with the application, but had made no financial gain himself, Skelley said the U1 exemption was applied for without his knowledge and that he had no financial arrangement with the hauliers. The Environment Agency believe he was paid at least £94,000 for the waste taken to the farm.

Director of K.P.T. (SW) Ltd Jacqueline Kingwell said the company was aware of its duty of care over the difference between permitted and non-permitted waste. The company wrongly believed it could tip 10,000 tonnes under two exemptions, and had taken 10,500 tonnes of waste to the site and overtipping was through a lack of understanding.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said, "Limits and conditions to waste tipping are clearly set out on exempt activities. Skelley decided to ignore the limit for financial gain, while K.P.T. (SW) Ltd failed to check what the limit was. The Environment Agency will actively pursue such offending."