Fly-tipping Action Wales is urging householders across Wales to manage their rubbish responsibly and be vigilant when accepting offers from individuals posing as legitimate waste disposal businesses on social media during the coronavirus firebreak lockdown.
Householders are also encouraged to postpone garden and home DIY projects until lockdown restrictions are lifted, unless they are able to safely store excess waste at their property without causing health and safety risks, such as fire hazards.
The stern warning from Fly-tipping Action Wales follow concerns from local authorities over the number of people offering illegal rubbish removal services in community groups such as those found on Facebook, which they fear has increased since social distancing restrictions were enforced in Wales in March as part of the national fight against coronavirus.
While many people are already minimising their waste production and disposing of it correctly, householders are reminded that they have a legal duty of care to check with Natural Resources Wales that the person they use to remove rubbish from their home is a registered waste carrier — particularly at this time of national emergency.
In line with the Welsh Government firebeak lockdown rules and restrictions in Wales, all Household Waste Recycling Centres (often referred to as ‘local tips’) in Wales will close from 5pm on Friday 23 October until further notice.
Therefore, Fly-tipping Action Wales warn that householders are at an increased risk of being scammed by unregistered individuals, who are taking advantage of lockdown restrictions by offering cheap rubbish removal services. These individuals often dump the waste illegally in fields, on roadsides and along country-lanes.
If a waste enforcement officer traces fly-tipped rubbish back to a householder that did not make the appropriate checks for a registered waste carrier, they risk an unlimited fine 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 make, model and registration number.
Fly-tipping Action Wales Programme Manager, Neil Harrison, commented: “For everyone's health and safety and out of respect for our local authority staff who are working hard to provide communities with vital services, please follow your duty of care and dispose of your waste responsibly.
If somebody offers you rubbish removal services through social media, you have a legal duty to check that the person or business is a registered waste carrier before using them.
“Fly-tipping is a criminal offence and those committing this crime, particularly during a time of national emergency are placing more pressure on already stretched resources and staff, while putting the waste enforcement officers who investigate and clear up fly-tipped refuse at risk.
“We urge householders to store excess waste at home, or if safe storage isn’t possible, we advise postponing DIY projects that are likely to create high volumes of rubbish until the fire-break lockdown restrictions are lifted in November and Household Waste Recycling Centres are re-opened.
“We’d also like to remind everyone that leaving unwanted household items and rubbish outside full recycling banks or closed facilities, such as charity shops and local council tips, is still classed as fly-tipping.“Those who choose to fly-tip can face up to a £50,000 fine or twelve months imprisonment if prosecuted at a Magistrate’s Court.”
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.
For more information on ways to manage your waste safely, legally and responsibly during the coronavirus lockdown, please visit flytippingactionwales.org, follow @FtAW on Twitter or search @FtAWales Facebook.