[T]he Environment Agency (EA) has revealed that over a third of illegally dumped waste is from households.
The regulator is now urging homes in Cumbria to avoid illegal waste operators by taking extra care when it comes to disposing of rubbish.
A recent change in the law means that householders found to be knowingly involved in the illegal dumping of waste, could be liable for Landfill Tax or prosecuted alongside the actual illegal operators.
It’s been found that unlicensed waste operators target householders via social media or local advertising, often luring customers with cheaper rates to dispose of unwanted furniture, building rubble or garden waste.
An Environment Agency spokesperson, said: “It’s crucial that anyone who produces waste at home understands their responsibilities for the waste they produce, who they allow to take it away and ultimately where it goes. Too often these responsibilities are misunderstood or ignored.
We must all come together to win the fight against waste criminals. We’re doing our part with enforcement action and prosecution, whenever necessary. But we cannot do this alone. Householders also have a responsibility to ensure their waste is collected by a responsible operator who will not pollute the environment with waste which potentially cost thousands to clear up and make safe.”
It’s estimated to cost the UK economy £600M every year, the equivalent of a new and fully staffed NHS hospital. More than 850 new illegal waste sites were discovered by the EA in 2016-17. While an average of two illegal waste sites are shut down every day, they continue to create severe problems for local communities and business, particularly in rural areas, as well as posing a risk to key national infrastructure.
To avoid contributing to waste crime, householders are advised to take the following steps:
Check the waste management operator being used is a registered waste carrier. Registration documents should available on request and should be inspected before services are rendered. To check environmental permits, head to: https://environment.data.gov.uk/public-register, or call 03708 506506.
Get a written receipt/transfer note complete with contact details, a description of waste removed and details of where the waste is being taken to.
Note down the vehicle type, colour and registration number of the vehicle that’s taking your waste away.
Report suspected waste crime to the EA incident hotline 0800 807060 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.