The Environment Agency has been investigating reports of waste being burnt at sites in the Christchurch area. They have identified that landowners are receiving waste from carriers and tradesman and burning it as a means of disposal.
This is illegal. The fuel for these fires is likely to be originating in the surrounding area, from construction businesses, tradesman, landscapers and gardeners or waste carriers. In all cases, these businesses generate or remove waste as part of their operations and then dispose of it illegally to cut costs. If you are a business owner or householder in the area having renovations or other maintenance work done, it could be your waste that is being disposed of in this way. Whilst you are paying your contractor to fulfil their responsibility and make sure waste is safely and legally disposed of, they are cutting costs, damaging the environment, causing a fire hazard and creating a health hazard for nearby residents.
You can stop this from happening by understanding your waste duty of care. Anyone who produces waste at home or from a business has a duty of care to take all reasonable steps to make sure it is disposed of legally and safely. There a few main ways to do this:
- Check for a waste carriers licence. Whether you are employing a waste carrier directly or a tradesman, builder or other contractor is getting rid of waste on your behalf, ask for their waste carriers licence. They should be registered with the Environment Agency and be able to provide you with their licence details. You can check these online or by calling the Environment Agency (details below).
- Ask where they will be disposing of your waste. They should be taking it to a commercial waste transfer station where it will be professionally processed.
- Get a receipt, invoice or waste transfer note for waste being removed on your behalf. Make a note yourself of the company name, contact details and vehicle registration of the person or company.
- Do not accept unsolicited offers to dispose of waste and beware of prices that seem too good to be true. They will be.
- A commercial transfer station could charge up to £150 per tonne of waste.
Any legitimate carrier should be happy to provide you with this information. If they’re not, don’t let them take your waste away. If your waste is illegally disposed of and you are found not to have met your duty of care, you could be fined.
How to check waste carrier licence details
Online: search ‘waste carriers public register’ or go to: https://environment.data.gov.uk/public-register/view/search-waste-carriers-brokers
Call the Environment Agency contact centre tel. 03708 506 506
If you believe someone is burning business waste illegally you can contact the Environment Agency incident hotline on tel. 0800 80 70 60 to report it.
More guidance on waste duty of care can be found online at gov.uk – search ‘waste duty of care code of practice’.