The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has issued a warning to illegal waste carriers, who it claims put other road users at risk.
Gareth Llewellyn, DVSA chief executive, said today that the DVSA is committed to protecting the public from unsafe drivers and vehicles.
He explained: “By combining our enforcement powers and intelligence with that of the Environment Agency, we’re effectively targeting waste operators breaking the rules and putting themselves and other road users at risk. We won’t hesitate to issue fines, or take vehicles off our roads, if we find waste carriers operating in an unsafe manner.”
The warning follows its latest multi-agency ‘day of action’ which took place last week in the London borough of Enfield. The Metropolitan Police Commercial Vehicle Unit, DVSA and HMRC Road Fuel Testing Unit checked numerous commercial vehicles – including nine carrying controlled waste – in a bid to reduce and disrupt waste crime.
Environment Agency officers checked that these operators had a permit to carry waste, had the correct duty of care paperwork and were describing the waste they were carrying correctly and were not ‘misdescribing’ it. Officers also checked whether waste was being transported to authorised and legitimate sites where it would be handled correctly.
According to the Environment Agency, companies must register as a waste carrier if they either transport waste, or buy, sell or dispose of waste. The Agency said some carriers operate illegally without the necessary licence, and do not dispose of waste legally.
Senior environmental crime officer Julia Leigh said: “Multi-agency days of action are a valuable tool in preventing and disrupting waste crime. We want to make it very clear to people that everyone, including households, have a duty of care to ensure their waste is managed and disposed of correctly by the people they give it to. If you use illegal waste carriers to take your rubbish, you risk being fined up to £5,000.
“People who manage waste illegally cost the taxpayer millions every year in clean-up costs. They undercut legitimate business, pose a direct threat to sustainable growth in the waste management sector, take valuable resource from the public sector, and private land owners can be left with bills running into hundreds of thousands of pounds in clean-up costs.”
Ms Leigh said the Agency’s enforcement days make sure that the right waste goes to the right place, to stop unpermitted businesses undermining legitimate businesses and help create “a level playing field.”
DVSA’s Mr Llewellyn, added: “Waste being transported with no authorisations is likely to end up at illegal waste sites. Such sites store waste in vast quantities and for long periods of time posing significant risks to health and the environment, like pest infestations and fires, which could lead to water and land contamination plus air pollution from smoke.”
“We won’t hesitate to issue fines, or take vehicles off our roads”
Earlier this year the Environment Agency announced an agreement with DVSA on steps to stop illegal waste carriers and improve road safety in England. (see letsrecycle story)
As part of the agreement, enforcement teams will be provided with up-to date and relevant intelligence about waste industry operators.
The Environment Agency said this will all help to identify ‘high-risk’ or illegal goods vehicle operators who are involved in the transport of waste, and reduce the number of seriously and serially non-compliant waste industry vehicles on England’s roads.