Customers warned about using unscrupulous firms that fly-tip waste
It’s grossly irresponsible, incredibly unsightly, not to mention a criminal offence, yet during lockdown several North West beauty spots have sadly seen a dramatic rise in fly-tipping.
Landowner, United Utilities, is warning customers to be extra vigilant if hiring a firm to take away their household waste as they could be legally liable if they use an unscrupulous company that just dumps their rubbish.
United Utilities’ land agent assistant, Kathryn Frazer, explained: “If you employ an individual or business to remove waste from your property or business you have a responsibility to ensure they dispose of it legitimately, for instance at a household waste and recycling centre or licensed/permitted site.”
Tipping a mattress, electrical items or a bin bag full of rubbish in the street causes a local nuisance and makes an area look ugly and run down. At the larger end of the scale fly-tipping can involve several truckloads of construction and demolition waste being tipped on different types of land.
Uncontrolled illegal waste disposal can be hazardous to the public, especially if it contains toxic material or asbestos. There could also be a risk of damage to watercourses and soil quality from the dumped waste.
According to the Keep Britain Tidy website, in 2016/17 more than one million incidences of fly-tipping were dealt with by councils in England. The estimated cost of clearing up this waste was over £58 million.
Householders have a legal responsibility to check the firm they hire has a waste carriers licence and can do this on the Environment Agency's website.
Householders should also ask the waste carrier for a receipt documenting the waste that was taken.
Businesses must also ask the waste carrier for a waste transfer note documenting the waste that was removed and where it was taken to.
Anyone who fails to carry out these checks, or retain the necessary paperwork, could be liable to pay a fixed penalty notice of £200 for a householder and £300 for a business, or face prosecution.
Fly-tipping is a serious criminal offence. The courts have various powers available to them to tackle fly-tipping, including imprisonment, substantial fines of up to £50,000, orders to pay costs and an order to deprive rights to a vehicle used to commit the offence.
Kathryn Frazer said: “Fly tipping is extremely unsightly and unwelcome for visitors and expensive for landowners, like ourselves, to remove.
“Despite these difficulties, there are things that we can all do to try and reduce this blot on our landscapes. If you are thinking of paying someone to take away your rubbish, check https://environment.data.gov.uk/public-register/view/search-waste-carriers-brokers to make sure they are a licensed waste carrier,” she added.