Kent County Council is investing £250,000 to reduce the level of flytipping in Kent.
Planned action will include more electronic surveillance, including mobile CCTV, and covert cameras and tracking to better target criminal activity.
According to the Environment Agency (EA), over a third of illegally dumped waste is from households which have used unlicensed waste operators.
Illegal waste carriers often target people via social media or local advertising, luring customers in with cheap rates to dispose of unwanted furniture, building rubble or garden waste.
However, these unlicensed carriers often simply dump the waste along country lanes or farmers’ fields leaving the bill for removal and disposal with the landowner.
Householders or small businesses found to be using criminals to dispose of their waste can and are being prosecuted by local authorities in Kent with fixed penalty notices that range from £200 to £400 per offence.
KCC cabinet member for waste, Mike Whiting, said: “I’ve had letters from residents pointing out waste collectors on social media charging a few pounds to collect waste but there are no guarantees where it will end up.
“Many people don’t realise that if you’ve paid an unlicensed business to collect waste and it gets dumped and traced back to you, the waste is still your responsibility and you can be prosecuted.
“Over 90% of fly-tipped waste we see in the county could have been disposed of for free at one of the 18 KCC household waste recycling centres (HWRC) in Kent or from a kerbside collection by their local district or borough council.
“I am meeting with partners including local borough and district council leaders, the police and farmers to see how this £250,000 investment from KCC can best help reduce fly tipping, increase prosecutions and better inform householders and small businesses how to legally dispose of their waste.
“Fly tipping by unscrupulous criminals is an anti-social crime which blights our countryside and neighbourhoods.”
KCC operates 18 HWRCs, providing facilities for the recycling and disposal of more than 30 different types of waste.
Each year Kent’s household waste sites receive approximately 185,000 tonnes of waste and 3.5 million visits, at a cost of approximately £10 million to the taxpayer.
KCC is increasing its investment in waste and is working on plans to open a new HWRC serving the Tonbridge and Malling area, taking the pressure off its other centre in Tovil and Medway’s centre in Cuxton. It is also looking at ways to increase recycling and re-use of waste brought to its sites.
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.
In the last year, officers from local authorities across Kent, working with the police and other agencies have been working together operation Op Assist, which involves days of action to crack down on fly tipping and unlicensed waste collectors across Kent.
The most recent, last month, was carried out in Ashford, Canterbury, Folkestone and Hythe, Dover and Thanet.
During the operation 107 vehicles were stopped and 44 notices or criminal charges were brought against drivers and their vehicle.
This included 27 Local Authority Producer Notices for transporting controlled waste; four Traffic Offence Reports; five Local Authority Fixed Penalty Notices; five vehicles were seized; one person arrested; two persons interviewed and reported for summons; four Prohibition Notices issued by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).
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.