TALKING POINTS

Could fly-tipping be reduced if commercial waste disposal rates were reduced?

The County Council’s Household Waste and Recycling Centres, as the name suggests, are there to help householders dispose of most types of waste free of charge, and  small amounts of do-it yourself residues such as soil, rubble and plasterboard at a small cost.

People in business usually dispose of the waste their businesses generate through commercially operated facilities which charge to meet the cost of running their premises, disposing of what can sometimes be difficult material and making a reasonable profit. Generally this system works well and costs are governed by the laws of supply and demand.

Although it is deeply upsetting to see, fly-tipped waste is a tiny proportion of the tonnage generated by businesses, most of which are run by responsible people.  Sadly, there are businesses that don’t play by the rules, especially those who offer to dispose of waste at very low rates but are not licenced and tip in our country lanes and on private land, and other businesses that would not pay reduced commercial fees even if they were offered, always preferring to let the landowner or the public purse meet their costs. It is these people that Kent County Council is currently targeting, having recently invested £250,000 in mobile CCTV, covert cameras and tracking to bring offenders to court, increasingly successfully.

Most fly-tipped waste originates with households and could be disposed of free of charge at one of the County Council’s HWRCs by householders doing it themselves (it’s easy) and avoiding the cowboys, or, if they want to employ a contractor,  by carefully checking the registration.

Householders can check waste carriers’ licences by contacting the Environment Agency on 03708 506506 and, if fly-tipped material is seen, reporting it to their District or Borough Councils via the Councils’ websites.

David Brazier