Waste carrier registration system ‘contributes’ to fly-tipping

Material Focus claims Defra’s carrier, broker and dealer (CBD) registration system “does not function effectively” and is being “misused”, contributing to high incidences of fly-tipping.

There are 305,863 active registered waste carriers according to the Agency

The CBD system is a form of register for waste carriers, brokers and dealers, which determines who can legally move waste.

On 22 July, Material Focus, the not-for-profit organisation funded by the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) compliance fee, published research it had commissioned on fly-tipping and unregistered waste carriers in England.

Undertaken by consultancy Air & Space Evidence, the research examined who was advertising waste collection services online in 10 UK areas and compared more than 4,700 business names to entries in the CBD registration system.

It found that nearly two-thirds (63%) of businesses in England offering to handle waste appear to be unregistered.

Evasion rates for other sectors, such as for TV licences or road tax, usually fall between 1 and 8%, Material Focus claims.

Scott Butler, Material Fous’s executive director, said: “This research has revealed for the first time the scale and type of the unlicensed waste carrier activity and the ways this might be contributing to the extreme number of fly-tipping incidents in the UK.

“The fact that there are high numbers of unregistered carriers in practice is clearly a significant issue which means that waste electricals and other forms of waste aren’t being properly recycled.”

‘Connected, organised networks’

The researchers claim the online register that enables businesses and householders to check whether carriers are CBD registered does not allow them to do so effectively.

Material Focus says the research found evidence there are “connected, organised networks” of unregistered waste carriers across the UK.

Some appear to be spending as much as £150,000 each year on advertising for each trader in multiple locations across England, Material Focus says.

The researchers estimated that a single typical network of operators could generate a profit from landfill tax evasion of between £5.4 million and £13.2 million each year.


In 2019/20, fly-tipping incidents and illegal waste sites recorded by the Environment Agency contributed to the illegal handling of more than 87,000 tonnes of WEEE, Material Focus says.

That same year there were nearly 1 million recorded instances of fly-tipping on public land in England, Material Focus says. The Agency also dealt with nearly 1,000 organised illegal waste sites on top of this.

Related links
An Independent Study into Fly-tipping and Unregistered Waste Carriers in England


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