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Law change alters waste management responsibilities for citizens

Published: Wednesday, 9th January 2019

Amendments to national laws mean residents who fail to take all reasonable measures to ensure they transfer waste to authorised carriers could face fixed penalty notices (FPNs) of £200.

The council’s Licensing and Public Protection is being asked to approve the penalty fee at a meeting on January 16 following the implementation of The Environmental Protection (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England and Wales) Regulations 2018, which came into effect earlier this week (January 7).

In short, householders should check whether a person or business is authorised to take waste before they transfer their waste to them.

An authorised person is one of the following:

  1. Someone who has a valid registration as a carrier, broker or dealer of waste issued by the Environment Agency.
  2. A waste management operator who has an environmental permit or registered exemption to accept such waste issued by the Environment Agency.

The duty of care requirement equates to the householder asking the person or business they transfer their waste to (or who arranges the transfer) for evidence of their authorisation, such as a copy of their waste carriers registration or proof of their exemption registration.

Householders can also use the Environment Agency public register to check any evidence of registration provided to them either online (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/access-the-public-register-for-environmental-information) or by telephone (03708 506 506).

A decision on whether to issue a FPN or take an offender to court will be made on a case-by-case basis, against Crown Prosecutors’ guidance.

If a FPN is issued and a resident does not pay it for whatever reason, the matter will be referred to the magistrates’ court for summonses to be issued.

As well as being another tool that helps the effort to achieve clean streets, the FPNs can also reduce the workload of the courts, so they can focus on more substantial cases.

Cllr Barbara Dring, Chair of Birmingham City Council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: “We intend to use the new powers available to councils to create policies and regulations that address local wishes and concerns.

“We know the top priority for the people of Birmingham is clean streets – and hope that the risk of a fixed penalty notice makes citizens think very carefully about how they dispose of their waste.

“When residents utilise the services of firms that offer to take their waste away after they have done something like a spring clean or DIY work, the law now makes it very clear there is a duty upon them to take all reasonable measures in the circumstances to ensure that they only transfer household waste produced on that property to an authorised person.”

Cllr Majid Mahmood, Cabinet Member for Clean Streets, Waste and Recycling added: “Everyone has a role to play when it comes to clean streets – from the services the council delivers, through to businesses to individual citizens.

 “This will reduce the chance of waste ending up in the hands of those who would fly-tip it, which comes at a cost to the public purse, and is money that could be used in much better ways to deliver other important services to the people of Birmingham.

“The message is clear – do not fly-tip as the penalties are being tougher and we will do everything within our power to prosecute offenders.”

 

Background notes

Money from FPNs is ring-fenced and reused to tackle waste enforcement issues, however this cannot be a consideration when determining whether to take enforcement action against a person who has committed an offence. Each case is vetted and determined on its own merits and in some cases a summons could be a more appropriate and proportionate approach where a person has committed an offence of this nature. 

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