Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Fine for not meeting duty of care when disposing of waste

A man has been hit with a bill of more than £1,110 for failing to meet his duty of care to ensure that waste from a property he had been renovating had been disposed of legally.

David John Fuge, of Longview Road, Clase, had originally pleaded not guilty to the offence before a District Judge at Neath Magistrates Court on Friday, October 30, but changed his plea to guilty half way through the trial.

The judge was told by Neath Port Talbot Council prosecutor Mike Shaw that had Mr Fuge checked that the person he had used to dispose of the waste was registered with the Environment Agency and obtained a waste carriers note, he would have demonstrated that he had complied with his duty of care.

Giving evidence in the trial Phillip Powell, Waste Enforcement Officer, told the court that in July 2008 waste, consisting of a large quantity of flat pack furniture, a three piece suite, a computer and worktops, cabinets and a sink, originating from a commercial property on Briton Ferry Road, Neath, which was being converted into a hairdressing salon had been found on the old road between Jersey Marine and Llandarcy.

Mr Leighton Case, Enforcement Supervisor also gave evidence to the court regarding the circumstances of interviewing Mr Fuge after the offence.

It was shortly after beginning his cross examination that Mr Fuge changed his plea.

After hearing the representations of Mr Shaw, and Mr Fuge's Solicitor, Mr Giles Hayes the District Judge fined Mr Fuge £675, and ordered him to pay the Councils costs of £421.79p with a victim surcharge of £15.

In his Judgement District Judge Williams said he did not think that Mr Fuge had intended the materials to be flytipped.

"Had I believed that then I would also have considered imposing a driving disqualification," he said.

The District Judge added however that Mr Fuge should have checked the certification of the person who took the waste away and retained a waste transfer note for his records.

Leader of the Council Ali Thomas said that anyone transferring waste to another person has a duty of care to ensure that the waste is removed by someone authorised to do so.

"Residents need to make sure that waste is only given to someone who is authorised to take it," he said. "This could be the holder of waste carriers licence or indeed someone authorised on behalf of the Council.

"If someone, other than a council representative is taking away your waste, you should make sure that they have a waste carriers licence and check with the Environment Agency that their licence is valid. You should also complete and sign with that person a waste transfer note and keep a copy."

"If the person does not have the correct documentation, which is issued by the Environment Agency, do not give them your waste. The production of these documents should not cause an authorised person any difficulty in producing them.

"If you do not make these checks you could be liable for prosecution if it is found to have been flytipped.

"I would encourage members of the public to use, wherever possible, local ad registered contractors as this will allow the Auhtoirty to check whether or not they hold a waste disposal licence. Furthermore, if you do have a problem, remember that our officers are always available to give you the correct advice. The reason for this advice is that i am a little bit concerned about the number of contractors being prosecuted who not not live in our county borough and who are obviously unaware of our zero tolerance policy on waste disposal."

Enforcement Supervisor Leighton Case said:

"I have a team of officers who are totally dedicated to improving the local environment.

"The duty of care obligation extends to both household waste and commercial waste and the public need to be mindful of their responsibilities in relation to waste disposal. In our experience 'cheap is nasty' and it usually follows that materials taken away at low cost end up being illegally dumped.

For more information on disposal of household waste contact Neath Port Talbot Council on 01639 686868.

For checks on registered waste carriers in your area contact the Environment Agency on 08708 506 506 or log on to


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