A County Durham farmer has denied dumping controlled waste at a rural site without the necessary accreditation.

Peter Robert Snailum appeared at Durham Crown Court facing two charges brought by the Environment Agency under the Environment Protection Act.

He is accused of two counts of depositing controlled or extractive waste otherwise than in accordance with an environmental permit.

The Northern Echo: Farmer appears at Durham Crown Court accused of waste dumping permit breaches in a prosecution

The first charge states that between January 15 and March 31, 2020, mixed construction and demolition waste, plus soil and stone, was dumped at School House Farm, at Kiln Pitt Hill, near Consett.

In the second count the deposited waste was said to be shredded wood, plus plastic and metal fabric, foam insulation and roofing felt, said to have been dumped at the same site, between March 4, and May 15, 2021.

The 63-year-old defendant, of Stanners Farm, Whitworth, near Spennymoor, denied both charges.

Asked by Judge Jo Kidd what his defence would be to those charges, Christopher Knox, representing Mr Snailum, said it would be that the amount of waste dumped did not exceed his permitted limit.

Judge Kidd asked Mr Knox if his client accepted his exemption was limited to 1,000 tonnes.

He said the defendant believed he was allowed to deposit up to 6,000 tonnes.

The Northern Echo:

Judge Kidd said: “If that’s right, it might be he has a defence.”

But she said she understands the Environment Agency believes there was more than 6,000 tonnes of waste deposited at the site.

The Northern Echo:

Simon Clegg, for the Environment Agency, said it was his understanding that the defendant had an exemption for only 1,000 tonnes and any more than that would require an Environmental Permit from the Environment Agency.

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Mr Knox said it was the defendant’s belief that his accreditation covered the amount that was deposited, although he added that there was an issue over how much was actually deposited.

A date was fixed for a trial of up to three days, starting at the court on Wednesday October 16.

But a pre-trial further case management hearing will take place on Wednesday July 3 to ensure witnesses have been warned and the case is proceeding unhindered towards the trial date.