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I phoned the Environment Agency hotline on 6th May 2016 to report Waste falling from transporter on M40

I was told that only deal with waste from licensed sites. I was told to ring the police on 101. I asked to speak to a supervisor and was given the same advice.

Thames Valley Police however said they did not regard this as a matter for them.

I put in an information request to the Environment Agency as follows:

I am concerned about the high levels of waste on the verges of our highways.

I have witnessed waste coming off the top of waste transport vehicles and refuse coming off the back of other commercial vehicles.

Can you please let me have details of the actions the Agency has taken against the drivers and/or operators of these vehicles over the last 2 years including prosecutions and on-the-spot fines (fixed penalty notices)?

Have you prosecuted any of the operators of waste transport vehicles under EPA S34?

If so please gives details of each prosecution in the last two years.

In their response they said:

The Environment Agency’s mandate is to focus on larger scale waste incidents. While the escape of waste from vehicles might come within the scope of our enforcement activities under certain circumstances, this type of incident will normally be a matter for local and other authorities. In the past two years we have not prosecuted or cautioned any offenders for the escape of waste from transport vehicles.

The Environment Agency issues Fixed Penalty Notices usually for Hazardous Waste offences which are usually where the waste carrier/consignor fails to prepare and complete a consignment note on behalf of the hazardous waste producer, or failure to use consignment notes or where the operator of a consignee facility receiving hazardous waste fails to make a consignee quarterly return for all hazardous waste received at that facility within a set time period.

None of the Fixed Penalty Notices issued have been for waste coming off the top of waste transport vehicles and refuse coming off the back of other commercial vehicles.

The vehicle operator was in my view acting in breach of Environmental Protection Act S34  – Duty of care as respects waste. DEFRA’s Waste duty of care: code of practice  says inter alia that:

This Code applies to you if you import, produce, carry, keep, treat, dispose of or, as a dealer or broker have control of, certain waste in England or Wales.

You must take all reasonable steps to: prevent the escape of waste from your control and .. ensure that vehicles are covered and waste is secured appropriately for transport purposes

Failure to comply with the duty of care requirements is a criminal offence and could lead to prosecution.

The regulators for the duty of care are the Environment Agency (EA) in England, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) in Wales and local authorities.

I had previously taken the matter up with Highways England on 1st April in an e-mail to their Chief Executive. I did not receive any response and wrote again on 27th April 2016 saying: Has HE been in touch with Hoban Ltd about their apparent breach of this duty? I have heard nothing back.

Peter Silverman
19th May 2016

 

 

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