Councils can now fine householders up to £400 if they fail to pass their waste to a registered carrier.
The new powers came into effect in January, with the objective of preventing further dumping and fly-tipping of household materials from illegal waste operators.
Under previous rules, local authorities only had the option of taking offenders to court, which has proven a timely and costly process. However, the new rules will provide a more efficient ‘alternative to prosecution.’ In addition to this, the government has published guidance for councils; ensuring that their acquired powers are used “proportionately” and that proposed penalties for offenders shouldn’t be issued for minor breaches or in a way to raise money.
Sam Corp, head of regulation at the Environmental Services Association (ESA), said that the trade body fully supports Defra’s latest steps in tackling waste crime. He explained: “The proportionate use of fixed penalty notices for householders who have failed in their ‘duty of care’ is a significant measure which should have a real impact by raising awareness of this important responsibility amongst householders.
“Government guidance suggests that householders can largely fulfil their duty of care by checking that the person taking their waste away is a ‘registered carrier’.” He continued: “It is also encouraging that the government’s recently published Resources and Waste Strategy has recognised the need to reform the carriers, brokers and dealers regime, so that householders can actually have confidence that the registered carrier they use will act responsibly.”
Householders can access the Environment Agency’s database to check the full list of licensed/registered waste suppliers and material handlers.