New rules to help crack down on large-scale tipping of waste that blights the countryside and threatens the future of rural businesses have been welcomed.
The legislative amendments will see action against rogue waste site operators speeded up, says the Country Land and Business Association.
CLA East Regional Surveyor Tim Woodward said: “Landowners and rural business owners have been left exposed to waste operators that have either gone bankrupt or disappeared leaving large amounts of waste on site. This abandoned waste then becomes the responsibility of the landowner. This can be extremely costly and can cause both environmental and safety problems.
“The CLA welcomes these legislative changes, which will allow the Environment Agency to take early action by revoking an operator’s permit to prevent continued stock-piling of waste. We have called for culprits to be dealt with more robustly for years and we will continue to press for greater powers for enforcement authorities.”
However, Mr Woodward said landowners needed to be aware that it was their responsibility to check the permits of any waste operators they are approached by, and allow to use their land, are legitimate.
He added: “Organised groups are making concerted efforts to target landowners and farmers with land in extremely isolated areas, well shielded from public highways, to store huge quantities of waste – often plastics and wood – on a temporary basis.
“These are usually slick operations, with the ringleaders seemingly having a very legitimate front. They appear to have all relevant permits and offer cash to store the waste. However, once the site is full they leave landowners with a rather large pile of waste – for which they believed there was a licence – to dispose of at their own expense.
“We have been informed of an instance where one landowner in the eastern region has been left with between 7,000 and 10,000 tonnes to clear.
“Landowners need to check with the Environment Agency to ensure the operator approaching them has the correct permits, which they can do through its website.
“It’s in the best interests of landowners, rural communities, and the environment that these bogus operators are brought to book as soon as possible. If you are approached to store waste for someone else, or suspect that this is going on in your area, call the Environment Agency incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”