Do the right thing with your rubbish

Last Updated: 18 October 2022

South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) is urging householders to do the right thing with their rubbish by avoiding unlicensed waste carriers.

The council is reminding residents they could receive a criminal record and be fined up to £400 if waste arising from work on their home or garden is dumped illegally, even though someone else has done it.

The warning follows two recent incidents where large quantities of garden waste were fly-tipped in rural parts of South Lakeland, including more than two tonnes of conifer chippings at Birkrigg Common, a beauty spot near Ulverston.

Residents are being urged to protect themselves by checking that anyone working on their home or garden and disposing of the rubbish afterwards has a waste carriers’ licence from the Environment Agency.

Councillor Eamonn Hennessy, Portfolio Holder for Customer and Locality Services, said: “Many householders may simply not realise they have a duty of care to ensure that waste resulting from work on their property is disposed of legally – this could be anything from tree and hedge clippings to builders’ rubble, old kitchen cabinets, sinks, fridges, ovens and bathroom fittings.

“Most of us would be appalled to think we had unknowingly hired an unlicensed waste carrier who had fly-tipped our rubbish on a road or in the countryside. But sadly this is what can happen when rogue traders seek to avoid paying disposal costs. These can include “man and van”-type businesses who offer to take people’s rubbish away for cash, and then abandon it.”

Cllr Hennessy added: “Using an unlicensed waste carrier can prove extremely costly and nobody wants to end up with a £400 fine or a criminal record, just for lack of asking a few simple questions.

“What’s more, fly-tipping can be downright dangerous to road users as well as blighting our beautiful countryside with potentially toxic or hazardous substances.

“Ultimately this is not a victimless crime because the cost of investigating and clearing up fly-tipping on public land is borne by the Council Tax payer across our district.”

The Environment Agency has this advice for householders to protect themselves:

  1. Ask where the rubbish will end up – a genuine trader will not mind this question.
  2. Don’t pay cash – insist on a receipt.
  3. Record the details of the vehicle used to take the rubbish away.
  4. Check the trader’s credentials by calling the Environment Agency directly on 03708 506 506 for a free instant waste carrier check or go online at: https://environment.data.gov.uk/public-register/view/search-waste-carriers-brokers

Meanwhile, SLDC’s Locality Team is continuing to investigate two incidents where large quantities of garden waste were fly-tipped in South Lakeland. The most recent took place at Barrow Banks, on the old A590 road near Staveley-in-Cartmel. Locality Officers said the material looked like a garden clearance carried out in the past week with a mix of sycamore saplings, ivy, conifer, sedum and other green waste.

The previous incident at Birkrigg Common involved more than two tonnes of conifer chippings, a small red apple tree and some plastic bags.

If you have any information which could help identify the offender, please contact SLDC’s Locality Team by email at locality@southlakeland.gov.uk

Fly-tipping is illegal under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the maximum penalty (in the Crown Court) is five years in prison or an unlimited fine.