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Waste transport vehicles (EPA S34)

Waste TransporterI believe there is a specific problem with poorly protected waste transport vehicles – both skips and bulk waste transporters. The operators of such vehicles have a duty of care under EPA S34, any breach of which is an offence.

Approximately 10 years ago I complained to the Environment Agency about a skip operator whose vehicle I witnessed leaking refuse onto the A40. They successfully prosecuted the operator who was fined over £6,000.

In 2012 I witnessed a similar breach of EPA S34 on the M4. In this case refuse was leaking from the top of a large waste transport vehicle. I wrote to the Environment Agency reporting the incident. 10 months later I was informed that they would write to the operator reminding them of their duty of care.

I was told that they held no records of how many (if any) such prosecutions were now being made.

It would appear that the Environment Agency have lost interest in pursuing waste transport operators who fail to secure their loads.

I was however encouraged when I came across this story in the Bristol Post in 2012.

A COMPANY has been fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of more than £18,000 for allowing waste to spill from three of its lorries onto the Avon Ring Road.

Smiths of Gloucester, a construction and waste management firm, was prosecuted under the Environmental Protection Act at Northavon magistrates.

Two of the firm’s drivers were given conditional discharges and ordered to pay costs of £400 each. A third driver was given a conditional discharge with £200 costs.

The prosecutions followed a two-week campaign on the dual carriageway in March last year.

During the campaign, lorries belonging to the firm were stopped on five separate occasions after waste was seen escaping from the top of their vehicles.

Council officers found the company’s netting system to cover their loads was inadequate.

They found rips and gaps in the mesh when the vehicles were stopped.

The drivers were also prosecuted because they failed to ensure their loads were properly enclosed before setting off on their journeys.

The company was also criticised for failing to monitor whether these procedures were being followed.

Smiths was ordered to pay costs totalling £18,336 and a £15 victim surcharge at the hearing.

Dean Grice has posted these two videos on You Tube showing litter falling from these vehicles.

Litter from other commercial vehicles EPA S87

When I reported abundant quantities of insulation being blown off a lorry on the M4 near Windsor in 2014 neither the Police, the local council or the Highways Agency wanted to take action even though I had supplied the name of the company and the registration number of the vehicle.

The operators of the vehicle had committed an offence under Section 87 of the Environmental Protection Act (Leaving litter) and any of these organisations could have investigated the offence and prosecuted

If, as it seems, no legal action is ever taken in such cases the perpetrators can go on littering with impunity.

Peter Silverman
21st January 2015


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