Increasingly stringent regulations on what members of the public can and can’t drop at their local civic amenity sites is a major contributory factor to the steep increase in fly-tipping across the South East.
That’s according to environmental specialist Charlotte Williams from Bruton Knowles’ Guildford office, who says the range of items people are now being charged to dump coupled with reduced hours at many civic amenity sites is adding to the problem.
“We believe the current charging system – partly aimed at cutting down on the sheer volume of material being dropped off by tradesmen - has backfired on the councils.
“It has also left homeowners, farmers and landowners to clear up after the fly tippers.
“Private van drivers and ordinary members of the public are now being quizzed very carefully on the materials they are dropping off.”
Charlotte said some local authorities had introduced grey bins which won’t hold more than a couple of bags of waste. Other local authorities have moved to two weekly collections.
“There is even talk of having to book an appointment at the civic amenity site – which is clearly not practical for traders, SMEs and jobbing builders who are reluctant to pass the costs of waste disposal on to their clients for fear of losing business.”
“Councils should review tipping charges and opening hours to ensure people use civic tips rather than the countryside to dispose of their waste.
“While not attempting to make excuses for the individuals who dump waste in country lanes, verges and farm land the problem is clearly being exacerbated by the harder line at our civic amenity sites.”
“Not to mention the farmers and landowners who have had to pay out thousands of pounds to have other people’s rubbish removed from their land.”
Bruton Knowles is advising landowners that they are liable for any waste that is fly-tipped on their property and could be at risk of prosecution if they do not clear it away - often at considerable cost.
“In attempting to shave money from their own budgets, local authorities are actually shifting an increasing percentage of the disposal costs on to the farmers and landowners who are having to clear up the mess.”
“If there are any contaminated materials involved there are serious implications as regards the cost of clearance – not to mention the risk to health. Waste materials could also include glass, metal and other items which could pose a problem to cattle, walkers, farm workers and wildlife.”
Charlotte Williams concluded: “This is not only a rural issue. The problem is just as bad in urban areas. Rather than attempt to track down every single van or tipper truck carrying out this noxious crime, we should be looking at the root causes of the problem – at the local tip.”