Fly-tipping: New measures introduced in fight against waste crime

The Government has announced it will step up the fight against rogue ‘man-with-a-van’ waste carriers who fly-tip.

The issue has become a scourge on the countryside with 25t of rubbish found dumped on a Cambridgeshire farm earlier this month.

Huntingdon District Council and the Environment Agency are currently investigating. However, the waste suspected to have been dumped by criminals between November 16 and 19.

The involvement of serious and organised criminal gangs in the waste sector appears to be increasing, and these gangs are often involved in large-scale dumping.

Under the new rules, householders will now have a legal ‘duty of care’ to ensure they only give their waste to a licensed carrier with new penalties of up to £400 to come into force for householders whose waste is found fly-tipped as legislation is laid in Parliament.

Potential fly-tipping by rogue operators, and the risk of a penalty, can be avoided by using certified waste carriers, which can be checked easily by visiting the Environment Agency’s website, where householders can enter the business name or registration number to confirm their status as an approved company.

However, the Government has also issued guidance to ensure councils use these new powers proportionately and make clear fines should not be used as a means of raising revenue. For example, householders should not be fined for ‘minor’ breaches.

In 2016-17, clearing up fly-tipping incidents cost councils in England £57.7 million, with around two-thirds of all fly-tipped waste containing household waste.

Latest figures show our tough actions to crack down on fly-tippers are delivering results, with no increase in the number of incidents for the first time in five years.

Environment minister Therese Coffey said: “Fly-tipping is an unacceptable blight on our landscapes. 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 willfully dump it and these new powers will help us to crack down on rogue waste carriers.

The move comes as the Government publishes the response to its consultation on tackling poor performance in the waste sector more widely.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove recently commissioned an independent review into organised crime in the waste sector. Recommendations from the review will be considered as part of the forthcoming Resources and Waste Strategy where we will set out our approach to tackling all forms of waste crime.