You and your business have a responsibility to dispose of your waste properly. Illegal waste disposal and fly-tipping carry heavy fines, and even imprisonment. Defence lawyer Alan Burcombe highlights the pitfalls for individuals and businesses of not disposing of their waste in the required manner.
Fly-tipping on the increase – council crackdown
Despite recent government efforts, incidents of fly-tipping rose by 43% last year. It is estimated that investigating and cleaning up fly-tipped waste costs £80-186 million each year.
Unsurprisingly, councils are now cracking down on fly-tipping and some authorities have set up taskforces to tackle the issue and serial fly-tippers have received prison sentences. But it’s not just the fly-tippers themselves who are being targeted. Councils will make stringent efforts to identify the source of the dumped waste, and if it leads back to you, then you could face significant penalties.
The penalties for fly-tipping are severe
The duty of care to dispose of waste lies with you. Even if you did not actually fly-tip the waste yourself, you can still be held responsible. You can also be liable if you allow your vehicle to be used to fly-tip waste.
If you are found guilty of fly-tipping you could face a substantial fine of up to £50,000 or even a prison sentence. If it is hazardous waste that has been fly-tipped then sentences are correspondingly more severe.
If you have been called in for an interview under caution regarding fly-tipped waste, contact us immediately for advice and representation. Contact Alan Burcombe or call us in London (West Drayton) on 01895 449288 or in Hertfordshire (St Albans) on 01727 840900
Disposing of commercial waste – don’t end up liable
As a business, whatever the size of your firm, you have a duty to ensure that your waste is stored and disposed of lawfully. This means that it is your responsibility to ensure that anyone disposing of your waste does so correctly and has the proper licensed authority to do so. This is set out in Section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
As a business you cannot use domestic bins at say supermarkets or at local dump sites unless payment is made and such disposal is sanctioned by the council.
Of course, legitimate waste disposal can be expensive and it can be tempting to use a cheap alternative. But if the person carrying out the disposal is not licenced and dumps your waste, you can be liable and face the cost.
Stay on the right side of the law
|Use an authorised waste management individual or company||Don’t pay cash to a ‘man in a van’|
|Check their waste carrier number with the Environment Agency||Don’t take their paperwork at face value – check with the Environment Agency.|
|Check that any waste management site you are using has the appropriate licence.||Don’t dispose of any waste at an unauthorised waste management site.|
|Provide a full written description of the waste; complete a waste transfer note and keep paperwork for two years.||Don’t take commercial waste home and place it in your household bins|
|Contact our defence lawyers straight away if you are called in for an interview||Businesses – Don’t assume the law doesn’t apply to you because you are a small firm. The law applies to all producers of commercial and industrial waste irrespective of the size of organisation|
Disposing of household waste on the cheap could cost you more
You have a duty to dispose of your household waste properly. This means either having the waste collected by a registered waste carrier or taking your own waste to a licensed disposal site. There are plenty of rogue operators who will undercut the cost of skip hire by offering to remove household waste on the cheap. If they don’t have the necessary licences, they are unable to use civic amenity sites and simply illegally fly-tip the waste instead.
New financial penalties came into force in January 2019 to crack down on fly-tipping. Any householder who fails to pass their waste to a licensed carrier, and whose waste is found fly-tipped, faces a fixed penalty notice that carries a fine of up to £400.
Landowners – it’s your responsibility to remove fly-tipped waste
As a land owner, manager or occupier of private property, you are responsible for clearing and disposing of any fly-tipping found on your land. This can be a heavy burden. Whilst the council will investigate the matter free of charge they are not obliged to pay for its removal. This can even leave landowners facing the risk of prosecution for illegal storage of waste if they have not cleaned it up!
Get legal advice
Local councils are prosecuting more and more cases of fly-tipping. If you have been contacted in respect of fly-tipped waste that belongs to you, call us today for advice. Or if you are a landowner accused of illegal waste storage on your site, contact Alan Burcombe or call us in London (West Drayton) on 01895 449288 or in Hertfordshire (St Albans) on 01727 840900, or by email via our contact page.