Mountnessing woodpile fire: Man denies breaching environmental laws

Mountnessing fire Image copyright Essex Fire and Rescue
Image caption A fire at a woodpile in Thoby Lane, Mountnessing, near Brentwood, burned for nine weeks in 2014

A man has denied responsibility for a fire in a 5,000-tonne woodpile in Essex that took more than two months to fully extinguish.

Essex Fire and Rescue Service estimates it cost £476,000 to put out the smouldering 50ft-high (15m) woodpile in Thoby Lane, Mountnessing, in 2014.

Joshua O'Malley, 26, of Vale Court, Wheathampstead, denied breaching environmental laws.

He will face a trial at Chelmsford Crown Court next June.

Firefighters remained at the site for more than 1,500 hours between 18 August and 16 October last year while the fire was being put out.

Mr O'Malley denied charges of operating a waste storage and treatment facility without being authorised by an environmental permit and one of treating waste "in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health".

Creative Developments and Construction faces the same charges, and company director Mr O'Malley entered not guilty pleas on its behalf.

He was released on bail and will next appear in court on 20 June 2016.

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