Fly-tipped rubbish cost a Somerset woman £100 in a case highlighting the duty of care every individual and business has over their waste even after it has left their premises.
Leanne Beard, aged 24, was fined £50 with £30 costs and a £20 victim surcharge after waste she had paid men £20 to take away was fly-tipped.
At Somerset magistrates sitting in Taunton on 2 June, Miss Beard admitted failing to take reasonable measures to ensure the transfer of household waste to an authorised person.
The prosecution was brought as part of renewed efforts by all Somerset district councils to clamp down on fly-tippers through new equipment, warning signs, newspaper adverts and further training for enforcement officers.
Miss Beard told the court she had been moving from Frampton Road, Bridgwater, and had accepted an offer to dispose of her rubbish, which was later fly-tipped at Huntworth Viaduct.
Pleading guilty, Miss Beard, now of Pixton Way, Dulverton, added she should not have trusted the men who took her refuse; she was in the middle of moving and so had jumped at the opportunity.
Prosecuting for Sedgemoor District Council, solicitor Nigel Osborne said: “Fly-tipping is a serious offence … its blight is not only visual but can often have serious health and safety implications, and the costs of dealing with it are substantial.”
The case was the second in Somerset in which magistrates consulted new guidelines on sentencing for environmental crimes that will be formally introduced in July.
A Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) spokesman said: “Self defence against dumpers is easy. Simple checks can both protect residents from facing prosecution and help drive down fly-tipping.
“Ask any trader taking waste – from builders to man-and-van operators – for their waste carrier licence and where the refuse will go. Never pay cash; get a receipt with full contact details, and note the registration number and description of vehicles and people taking away your waste.”
“As all councils in Somerset work together to drive down fly-tipping and deter, catch and convict fly-tippers, this case emphasises that everyone has a duty of care to ensure their waste is properly handled by licensed traders and sent to a place that can legally take the materials.”
Details of all recycling sites, their opening hours and the materials they take can be found on the SWP website at www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/sites/opening or by calling Somerset Direct on 0845 3459188. Business directories list legitimate companies that provide waste services.
In April, five of Somerset’s busier recycling sites – Bridgwater, Frome, Minehead, Taunton and Yeovil – began opening 8am-4pm seven days a week.
For more information on fighting fly-tipping, visit: www.somersetwaste.gov.uk