Kent County Council’s environment champion is calling on advertisers to insist waste carriers include their licence number in advertisements.
KCC, together with district and borough colleagues, is urging companies that sell advertising to insist it is part of the text in a bid to crack down on flytipping.
KCC Cabinet Member for Environment Susan Carey said: “There isn’t currently a legal requirement to display carrier registration numbers which means anyone can advertise their business without having to prove they’re registered.
“Some operators use their registration number as part of their advertising to prove legitimacy, but many don’t – that’s not to say they are not legitimate, but if they were made to, we could squeeze illegitimate operators out of the trade.
“I’m urging those that carry advertising to ensure all of their customers in the waste disposal trade do this.”
One of the biggest areas of concern is on social media, particularly Facebook pages and groups where anyone can advertise for free.
Mrs Carey added: “I would urge owners of Facebook pages and groups to not allow users to post advertisements for waste removal unless they can prove they’re a legitimate business.
“It might seem innocuous that a ‘man and a van’ is offering to remove people’s unwanted items for a few pounds, but it can leave a huge bill for your district or borough council or for a private landowner such as a farmer, if they turn out to be a rogue trader.
“The cost to remove the waste hits farmers hard in the pocket, not to mention the environmental impact on rivers, soil, grazing animals and wildlife. It’s unfair that rogue traders can leave legitimate businesses suffering.”
Rogue traders often target householders with cheap rates to take their rubbish away and then dump the waste, leaving the bill for removal and disposal with others.
If the waste is traced back to its original source, it can leave people with a fine of up to £400.
KCC has funded a £250,000 anti-flytipping campaign, working with Kent Police and the district councils to target criminals who damage the countryside and to raise awareness of the risks of using unlicensed waste carriers.
Flytipped waste delivered by the district and borough councils to KCC for disposal between June and November reduced by 1%, equivalent to nearly 16 tonnes, compared with the same months in the previous year.
Residents are advised to check the waste management operator they use is a registered waste carrier:
- Registration documents should available on request and should be inspected before services are rendered or money paid.
- You can check environmental permits and waste carriers’ licences online by searching the EA public registers or call 03708 506506.
- Get a written receipt/transfer note complete with contact details, a description of waste removed and details of where the waste is being taken to.
- Note down the vehicle type, colour and registration number of the vehicle that’s taking your waste away.
- Report suspected waste crime to the EA incident hotline 0800 807060 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.