42% of Welsh population at risk of being scammed by fly-tippers

Householders living in Wales are at high risk of being scammed by unlicensed waste removal services.

This stern caution to the Welsh population has been issued by Fly-tipping Action Wales, after research* suggests that 42% of householders in Wales remain unaware that they have a legal responsibility to check for a registered waste carrier when arranging excess rubbish removal from their home.

As coronavirus restrictions continue to ease, householders are reminded that they have a legal duty of care to check with Natural Resources Wales that the person or business they use to remove large amounts of rubbish or unwanted items from their home holds an official waste carrier licence.

If a waste enforcement officer traces fly-tipped rubbish back to a householder that did not make these checks, then they risk a fine of up to £5,000 and prosecution.

Local authorities across Wales can also issue the householder with a £300 fixed penalty notice as an alternative to prosecution. A list of registered waste carriers, which should be used to carry out these vital checks, can be found on the Natural Resources Wales website.

Fly-tipping Action Wales also recommend that people ask where their rubbish is going, request a receipt from the company used to remove the waste and record details of the vehicle involved, including the make, model and registration number.

In support of this, local authorities across Wales continue to share increased concerns over ‘Facebook fly-tippers’. These individuals pose as legitimate waste removal businesses on social media, including Facebook community groups and advertise household rubbish removal for a low cost.

These illegal operators are known to dump waste illegally for financial gain and as a result of this exploitative behaviour, put the householder to whom the rubbish belongs to not only out of pocket, but at risk of being fined, or even prosecuted.

Neil Harrison, Team Leader at Fly-tipping Action Wales, said: “Approximately 33,000** fly-tipping incidents are recorded in Wales every twelve months, which is the equivalent to 90 incidents a day, or four offences every hour.

“Of these incidents, more than 70% contain household waste — but it doesn’t have to be this way.

“As householders, if we all make a promise to check that we are using a registered waste carrier when arranging excess rubbish removal from our homes, not only will this protect against unwanted fines, but more importantly, it will help to protect our natural environment against the detrimental impacts of fly-tipping”.

Fly-tipping Action Wales also encourages people to reduce the amount of waste they have to dispose of by using services such as Freecycle, donating unwanted items to local charities and looking into the free and paid services your Local Authority has available.

Police Officer, Eryl Lloyd, added: “Unfortunately, social media continues to be a tool that is used for targeting online users with scams and misleading information.

“In this instance, please be wary of fly-tippers disguising themselves as legitimate waste removal operators. These individuals will take your hard earned money and make profit from blighting Wales’s countryside with your household rubbish — while putting you at risk of committing duty of care offences”.

To encourage Wales’s residents to learn more about their household waste duty of care responsibility, Fly-tipping Action Wales is inviting members of the public to sign a free pledge on their website.

It’s all part of their ‘It’s Your Duty To Care’ campaign, which exists to help increase awareness around householder Waste Duty of Care responsibility in Wales.

Each signature will represent a promise to Wales to help protect its natural environment against fly-tipping.

This call-to-action also supports Visit Wales’s Addo campaign — which encourages people to make a wider commitment to care for Wales, its environment and communities during the coronavirus pandemic.

*Source: CCUK Research & Insight / Welsh Government survey into awareness of waste duty of care responsibility among people living in Wales, March 2021

**Source: Welsh Government annual fly-tipping figures in Wales: https://statswales.gov.wales/Catalogue/Environment-and-Countryside/Fly-tipping

To sign Fly-tipping Action Wales’s It’s Your Duty To Care pledge, please visit fly-tippingactionwales.org.

Fly-tipping is a serious crime. It causes considerable damage to the environment, the economy and local communities — with the consequences being up to a £50,000 fine or 12 months imprisonment for the offender if prosecuted at a Magistrate’s Court.

For more information on ways to manage your waste safely, legally and responsibly, please visit flytippingactionwales.org, follow @FtAW on Twitter or search @FtAWales Facebook.