Fixed penalties for domestic fly-tipping — not enough to tackle “real” criminals

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The Government has set out new financial penalties of up to £400 on householders for breaches of waste duty of care, but waste industry says concerns over “real” waste criminals remain.

Householders who fail to properly exercise their “duty of care” for waste disposal face heavy fines of up to £400 if their waste is subsequently found fly-tipped.

The Government is introducing the new measures early next year to encourage all householders to use only certified waste carriers and avoid rogue operators. Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said she recognised that many people do not realise they have a legal duty for their waste but says fly-tipping is “unacceptable”.

“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.”

Local authorities deal with around one million fly-tipping incidents a year and over two-thirds of all fly-tips involve domestic waste, costing an estimated £50 million every year in clean-up costs.

The new penalties are designed to 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 for regulators.

The Environmental Services Association (ESA), which represents UK waste management companies, says the Government’s proposals will go some way to “tackle crime and poor performance in the waste sector”, but doesn’t go far enough.

ESA’s Head of Regulation, Sam Corp said: “Current requirements for becoming a registered waste carrier, broker or dealer are just not stringent enough. So, unfortunately, simply checking that you have passed your waste to a registered carrier does not provide any real guarantee that it will not then be fly-tipped.”

The Government’s plan is part of a wider plan to improve performance in the waste sector including new measures for all waste facilities to have a written management plan to minimise the risks of pollution to the environment, and making it harder for applicants with relevant past offences to obtain a permit to operate a waste facility.

However, the waste industry says the whole waste registration system needs reform. “Without a complete overhaul of the carriers, brokers, dealers regime — as previously recommended by ESA and others, including the Government’s own review into Serous and Organised waste Crime — we retain our concerns about the effectiveness of this proposal to deter the ‘real’ criminals,” Sam Corp added.

Last reviewed 4 December 2018

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