Last reviewed 1 April 2021

Mishandled rubbish from building sites can be hugely damaging to public health, communities and the environment, the Environment Agency has warned.

Hazardous chemicals and toxins present in some construction waste, such as asbestos, cannot be taken to waste sites which have been set up only to receive inert waste such as sand and clay.

Over the past year, the Agency has taken action against those illegally collecting and dumping significant waste originating from builders.

In some cases, it has reported, workers have been admitted to A&E following the collection of contaminated waste; unscrupulous skip businesses have collected building site waste only to dump it; and career criminals have made millions dealing in waste that they go on to burn or bury.

The Environment Agency is therefore calling on all construction and demolition sites that produce, transport, treat or dispose of waste to fulfil their duty of care.

Head of Waste Regulation, Malcolm Lythgo, said: “I would strongly urge all builders to do the right thing and take full responsibility for their waste to limit disruption to the environment as much as possible. You should know who is taking your waste and where it is going.”

Failing to meet their legal responsibilities in this regard could cost builders up to a £50,000 fine, he pointed out.

They are advised to check the Agency’s public register of waste carriers before engaging anyone to move waste.