When an Ashford woman paid £650 for a house in Kingsnorth to be cleared she failed to check that she was using a waste collector registered with the Environment Agency – and later paid the price when the rogue trader dumped her household contents in a lay-by nine miles away in Hothfield.

Ashford Borough Council’s Environmental Enforcement Team investigated the large fly-tip and traced the woman, who admitted during interview under caution that she had failed to check if the waste collector was authorised by the Environment Agency and also failed to obtain an invoice or receipt for the payment of the service.

She was issued with a £400 Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) for a failure in her duty of care to ensure that any transfer by her of household waste was only to an authorised person for transport contrary to section 34(6) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The £400 FPN is reduced if paid within 10 days.

She told the investigating team that she handed over £650 to the trader after he told her he would take the waste to a local recycling centre. Instead the household contents were dumped in the lay-by in rural Hothfield. Further investigations are being carried out to try to trace the rogue trader.

Legal duty of care

Households and also businesses have a legal duty of care when it comes to what happens to their waste. In the Kingsnorth case, the woman failed in carrying out checks to enquire if the waste collectors were registered with the Environmental Agency. She also failed to obtain a written receipt.

The Environmental Enforcement Team continue to work tirelessly to clamp down on illegal fly-tipping right across the borough, and have handed out fines totalling more than £10,000 since the team was formed less than a year ago.

Many of the leads that end with offenders being caught come from residents alerting the team to fly-tipping incidents by using the Report It page on the council’s website – see https://www.ashford.gov.uk/environmental-concerns/report-a-street-issue/fly-tipping/ 

Beware rogue waste carriers

The team advise that fly-tippers often target households via social media or local advertising, luring customers in with cheap rates to dispose of unwanted furniture, building rubble or garden waste. But these unlicensed waste carriers often simply dump the waste wherever they can get away with it, including in Ashford’s country lanes.

Householders or small businesses found to be using these rogues to dispose of their waste can be prosecuted by Ashford Borough Council, with FPNs of up to £400 per offence. Failure to pay may result in court action.

If using a commercial service, you should check whether someone is licensed to carry waste by calling the Environment Agency on 03708 506506 or visit their website at

environment.data.gov.uk/public-register/view/search-waste-carriers-brokers

It also helps if householders receive a written receipt or transfer note, including contact details, description of waste removed and details of where the waste is being taken to.

By Ed

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