Landowners and farmers have warned that new fines for householders who pass their waste to a rogue ‘man and van’ for disposal are just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ in the fight to deter fly-tippers.
The Government has brought forward the legislation required to introduce new financial penalties of up to £400 for householders who fail to ensure their waste is not fly-tipped by unauthorised waste carriers through a legal duty of care.
In an announcement this week, Defra said the new penalties are expected to come into force early next year and “will make it easier for councils to tackle fly-tipping and provide an alternative to putting cases through the courts which can be a lengthy and costly process”.
CLA South East represents thousands of landowners, farmers and rural businesses in Kent, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and the Isle of Wight.
Regional Director Robin Edwards said: “Introducing a fixed penalty notice for householders who pass their waste on to unauthorised waste carriers is a welcome deterrent towards reducing this anti-social behaviour, but it is just the tip of the iceberg.
“To really tackle the crime, raising awareness of the risks of being caught and increasing the number of meaningful prosecutions are the right methods that will bring about real change to encourage people to do the right thing and dispose of their rubbish through proper legal channels.
“Without better understanding from the public and the right legal deterrents in place, fly-tipping will continue to increase exponentially and further blight the countryside.”
The CLA regularly reminds residents and householders to only use registered individuals and companies to remove their waste.
Mr Edwards added: “It’s easy to visit the Environment Agency website and check the waste licence that the carrier should be able to provide you.
“It’s worth paying for waste removal online if possible, as you then have a record that you’ve made the payment, rather than cash which is harder to trace if something does go wrong.”
Environment minister Thérèse Coffey said: “Many people do not realise they have a legal duty to look up waste carriers and we want councils to step up and inform their residents.
“We must all take responsibility and make sure our waste does not end up in the hands of criminals who will wilfully dump it, and these new powers will help us to crack down on rogue waste carriers.”
Earlier this month new figures revealed that nearly one million fly-tipping cases were recorded by local authorities in a single year. Out of 997,553 fly-tipping incidents nationally in 2017/2018, just 137 vehicles were seized (down from 197 in 2016/2017).
The true figures for fly-tipping are likely to be significantly higher, however, as the statistics do not include incidents on private land, where the landowner has responsibility to oversee the clearance and cost for waste removal. The CLA estimates it costs a farmer or landowner an average of £844 to clear up each incident.
The CLA would urge anyone who sees people dumping items or acting suspiciously to report it, either through the 101 service or to your local authority.
For more information about the Government announcement visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/fly-tipping-new-measures-in-government-fight-against-waste-crime