Residents across the borough are being warned they could face a tax bill and prosecution for illegally dumped waste under new laws – even if they didn’t dump it.
More than a third of waste found dumped at illegal waste sites is household waste and the Environment Agency is now urging homes in Doncaster to exercise greater care when it comes to disposing of their rubbish.
They say households, just as much as waste companies, local authorities and businesses have a responsibility to check what happens to their waste. A recent change in the law means that if you are found to be knowingly involved in the illegal dumping of waste, you could be liable for Landfill Tax, or prosecuted alongside the actual illegal operators.
Robert Cross for the Environment Agency said: “Unlicensed waste operators often advertise to homes via social media or through leaflets posted through the front door. They might offer what seems like a great deal to get rid of an old sofa or fridge for example, or building rubble, but you are responsible for the waste you produce and if it ends up dumped illegally you could be prosecuted.”
EA warned that waste crime can cause serious pollution to the environment put communities at risk and undermines legitimate business and the investment and economic growth that go with it. It’s estimated to cost the UK economy £600m every year. That’s enough to build and staff a new NHS hospital.
There are some easy steps for people to take to avoid unwittingly contributing to waste crime.
Check the people taking away your rubbish are a registered waste carriers. Ideally they should have a copy of their registration documents on them, ask to see these.
You can check their licence number at environment.data.gov.uk/public-register, or call 03708 506506 and EA can check for you.
Get a written receipt/transfer note showing their contact details, a description of your waste and details of where they are taking it.
Note down the make, colour and registration number of the vehicle that’s taking your waste away.
“And remember,” Robert added: “If their quote seems too good to be true, it probably is. Make sure you get another quote to see if it’s in the right area. Taking these steps will help us all work together to deter waste criminals and reduce illegal fly-tipping and dumping that are a blight on communities and cost thousands to clear up and make safe.”
Cabinet Member for Communities, the Voluntary Sector and Environment at Doncaster MBC, Coun Chris McGuinness, said: “When a householder passes their waste to an unauthorised collector they put themselves in jeopardy of being prosecuted because they have a duty of care to make sure waste is disposed of properly.
“We advise all residents to take care with who they pass their rubbish on to, so they don’t get caught up in environmental crime. Follow the advice on how to make sure the company is authorised and avoid a potentially hefty fine.”
You can report suspected waste crime to the Environment Agency incident hotline 0800 807060 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.