Rural leaders who undertook last week to remove waste dumped illegally on farmland in the New Territories said yesterday they would only level the waste and cover it with top soil. Representatives of the Sheung Shui Rural Committee said it was the job of owners to clear the waste from the land at Ho Sheung Heung, but it would level and cover it so the land could be cultivated again. The change of stance came as levelling work - which began three days ago - continued and villagers said it had enlarged the affected area by about 10,000 square feet, covering previously undamaged land. Meanwhile, a construction company working on a government site from which some of the waste is alleged to have come has made a report of possible deception to police. Owners of the land which adjoins the sensitive Long Valley wetland, have already been issued with notices to clear the construction waste, although they say it was dumped since May without their permission. The committee said last week it would fund the removal of the waste and had landowners' consent. Changing this stance yesterday, Mr Wong did not give a timetable for laying the top soil, saying a decision would be made after a meeting. The Planning Department said it had issued a notice at the site warning against illegal dumping and would closely monitor the situation. The Environmental Protection Department said staff had been sent to the site. A reporter who visited the site yesterday found construction waste including large rocks, rubble and broken glass spread across farmland, and two trucks with mechanical grabs were levelling it. Another committee representative who gave his name only as Mr Koo said he had the consent of all affected landowners, but could not produce any evidence of this. Villager Hau Tai-lok, who paid a landowner decades ago for the right to farm one of the affected plots, said owners and occupants of at least 12 affected plots 'did not give consent for the rural committee to touch the waste'. 'Even if a new layer of soil is added, the land would not be suitable for cultivation because the high metal content of the waste would contaminate crops.' Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Chun Wo Construction and Engineering, the contractor at a government worksite in the Wo Hop Shek cemetery, said some of the waste might have come from the site but the company had not approved it. The company had reported the possible deception to the police on Tuesday, she said. Ho Sheung Heung village representative Hau Chi-keung, could not be reached for comment. His office staff said he was out of town. Peter Li Siu-man, campaign manager of the Conservancy Association, said the latest row reflected loopholes in the regulations. 'The habitat has already been destroyed and levelling the site with soil would not help it recover.'