KIRKLEES Council has failed to win a High Court order barring landowner Eric Brook from dumping waste materials in a wood near Scissett.
The council has been told by a court it cannot force him to remove rock and other materials it says he has already put there.
Mr Justice Lloyd ruled in London yesterday that the council had failed to properly authorise its proceedings against Mr Brook, and that, regardless of the merits of its claim, he could not grant the injunctions it sought.
Giving his ruling after hearing the case in Leeds last month, the judge said that the proceedings "were not validly authorised by the Head of Planning Services" and so it had not satisfied the requirements of section 187 of the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act, which governs enforcement proceedings.
He said: "The council has not gone through the correct process, under its own internal rules, to decide whether or not to start the proceedings, including satisfying itself of what it needs to be satisfied of under the section."
The council had acted after a history of what it felt were frequent breaches of planning control by Mr Brook, relating to Bagden Wood, near Scissett.
Mr Brook was prosecuted for breach of enforcement notices relating to the deposit of excavated materials in the wood in 2002, and was fined by Huddersfield Magistrates Court.
The council prosecuted him again for further breaches, but withdrew that prosecution in May 2003 when he undertook not to deposit any more materials in the wood without the council's written consent.
However, Mr Brook took the view that this agreement did not relate to the whole of Bagden Wood, and in May 2004, the council learned that he had deposited more material, excavated from a nearby site at Nortonthorpe Mill, where he has built a new factory.
It launched the proceedings, seeking an injunction requiring the removal of the materials, prohibiting any further deposit of waste materials, and prohibiting any acts contrary to a Tree Preservation Order dating back to 1951.
Following the judge's ruling, the council will now have to reconsider whether to launch fresh proceedings against Mr Brook at further expense.