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Landowners forced to pay as EA reissues waste crime warning

Landowners are being urged by the Environment Agency (EA) to be mindful of their responsibilities regarding illegal waste storage after 100,000 tyres and up to 3,000 cubic metres of plastic bales were removed from two Lincolnshire sites near Boston and Brigg respectively.

Landowners forced to pay as EA reissues waste crime warning

The land from which the tyres were removed, Holme Farm near Kirton Holme, had been, in part, leased by an abandoned tyre operation. It was sold to a new owner, who then had the responsibility of disposing of the tyres at his own expense.

As well as being expensive to remove and dispose of, the EA says, waste left like this can present significant fire hazards and other damage to the environment.

The EA had worked with the fire service and the previous owner to ensure the bales were stored safely, including the provision of fire breaks, water and emergency contacts to minimise the risk of fire and potential harm to the environment. It also advised the new owner on the tyres’ disposal and ensured it was in accordance with regulations.

At the Brigg site, 3,000 cubic metres of plastic bales had been stored on a forged permit. A fly infestation that affected nearby residents and businesses was found to have been caused by the bales.

The operator of the site was encouraged to deal with the situation while the EA brought partners in to deal with the infestation, and after the company went into liquidation and was prosecuted, it took personal responsibility for the site and cleared it.

These cases echo warnings by the EA last week that landowners must be wary of those using their land as, under current laws, they are responsible for the removal of illegally-stored waste, even if they are not complicit in the illegal activity.

The agency has also published guidance on how to spot illegal waste sites, and how to report it. Among the signs of a site being used for waste crime are waste business activity out of hours, waste going in but not coming out, water pollution, and smoke caused from constant burning.

Landowner could be left with thousands of pounds worth of costs

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: “Illegal waste left can cost thousands of pounds to be removed and it’s important that landowners check before signing a contract with businesses or individuals to ensure the contract complies with regulations.

“We welcome the successful resolution to these long standing issues at both sites, dealing with difficult waste types. We also welcome the success of partnership work to make sure that sites like these are kept within the regulation and prevent harm to the environment.”

Find out more about how to spot illegal waste sites or what can be done to cut down on waste crime.

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