A man has been hit with £1400 of fines and costs after the contractors renovating his property dumped construction waste at the side of a road.
The rubbish consisted of timber, mattresses, carpets, tiles, and other household waste, and was removed from a property in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.
The prosecution lays bare the risks of failing to ensure that any contractor removing waste from a property is legitimate when renovating a house.
Environment Agency tracked dumped waste to address
Evidence from the waste pile, dumped in Long Drove, Cottenham, was investigated by the Environmental Crimes team and officers from the South Cambridgeshire District Council Environmental Health team.
Checks with Huntingdonshire District Council revealed the owner was a landlord living in Hunstanton, Norfolk, who said a friend had been looking after the property - but he was unable to provide any contract of employment, or other documented proof of liability for this person.
The homeowner admitted work had been carried out on the property and identified several items that were found in the waste as being from his address.
Fined £1400 despite not dumping waste himself
The man, who was not named, admitted that he hadn’t made the necessary checks on the contractors regarding the waste disposal.
All businesses have a duty of care to ensure that any contractor removing waste from a property is checked against the Environment Agency registers for authorised waste carriers, and that prior to waste being removed, a Waste Transfer Note is completed.
Failure to secure such paperwork or allowing waste to be taken away by unlicensed carriers can result in severe financial penalties.
The landlord pleaded guilty to failing in his duty of care and was fined £400 with £1,000 costs - plus a criminal record.
Cllr Henry Batchelor, Lead Cabinet member for Environmental Services at the council, said: "It highlights the dangers of not taking all reasonable precautions to safeguard waste transfers.
“Fly-tipping is a blight on the local environment, a danger to public health and a hazard to wildlife. It also undermines legitimate waste businesses.”
How to check if the waste removal firm has a licence
Allowing waste to be taken away by unlicensed carriers can result in severe financial penalties. You must check if your contractor has an assigned licence number that can be checked against the Environment Agency’s public register which can be found here.
If you do not have the waste licence registration number, searching for the business name or their commercial trading name is also possible.
The Environment Agency regulates businesses and individuals who want to carry out activities that could pollute or negatively affect the environment. They issue licenses, permits, registrations and exemptions. These give people permission to carry out their activity, provided they follow certain rules.
You can also check the enforcement action register for information on formal cautions and prosecutions the Environment Agency has taken against companies.
Homebuilding and Renovating also has a guide on how to get rid of rubble safely and responsibly.
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Sam is based in Coventry and has been a news reporter for nearly 20 years. His work has featured in the Mirror, The Sun, MailOnline, the Independent, and news outlets throughout the world. As a copywriter, he has written for clients as diverse as Saint-Gobain, Michelin, Halfords Autocentre, Great British Heating, and Irwin Industrial Tools. During the pandemic, he converted a van into a mini-camper and is currently planning to convert his shed into an office and Star Wars shrine.