Fly-tipped rubbish in Brandwood, Birmingham

Householders could be fined for using rouge waste carriers who fly-tip thanks to new legislation passed in parliament on Monday (26/11).

Householders have a legal ‘duty of care’ to ensure they only give their waste to a licensed carrier and failure to do so could result in financial penalties of up to £400 for those who fail to properly exercise this responsibility.

The new penalties, which are expected to come into force early next year, 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.

Members of the public can check if a operator is certified by searching for the business name or registration number on the Environment Agency’s website at: www.environment.data.gov.uk/public-register/view/search-waste-carriers-brokers

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. Figures released last week show Birmingham is blighted with more than 40 fly-tipping incidents every day with 15,993 fly-tipping incidents recorded in the last 12 months.

Environment minister Thérèse 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 wilfully dump it and these new powers will help us to crack down on rogue waste carriers.

As part of the legislation 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. To strike the right balance householders should not be fined for minor breaches, and the guidance also stresses that consideration should be given if the individual is a vulnerable person due to age related ill-health or a mental or physical disability.

The Government also noted 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. Environment Secretary Michael Gove recently commissioned an independent review into organised crime in the waste sector which will be reviewed in future Resources and Waste Strategy meetings.