New on-the-spot ‘duty of care’ waste fines for Welwyn Hatfield

PUBLISHED: 12:00 13 January 2020 | UPDATED: 12:00 13 January 2020

Fly-tipping at the Common in Hatfield in November. Picture: WHBC.

Fly-tipping at the Common in Hatfield in November. Picture: WHBC.

Archant

Welwyn Hatfield residents will face ‘on the spot’ fines of up to £300, if they fail to make sure their rubbish is properly disposed of.

Even if they have paid someone else to take household waste away, residents still have a legal responsibility - or 'duty of care' - if it is dumped or fly-tipped.

And at a meeting of the full council on Tuesday (January 7), councillors agreed to introduce 'fixed penalty notices' for so-called 'duty of care' offences relating to household waste.

That will mean residents who can't prove they have taken all reasonable measures to ensure their rubbish is taken away by an authorised operator will now face fines of £300 - without the need for a court prosecution.

Council officials already issue similar 'fixed penalty notices' to anyone caught fly-tipping in the borough.

But a change in legislation - which came into force earlier this year - has allowed them to take a similar approach with 'duty of care' offences too.

Recommending the move to council members, executive member for environment and planning Cllr Stephen Boulton said: "The purpose of this report is to recommend the introduction of a fixed penalty notice to be issued for offences relating to household waste duty of care.

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"This follows a change in environmental protection regulations, which were updated in January this year.

"At present the only options available to the environment team when a breach of duty of care occurs is to prosecute, issue a simple caution or take no action.

"The introduction of a fixed penalty notice will allow officers to deal effectively with low levels of breaches and send out a stronger message than the current system allows."

According to the report to the council, the fixed penalty notices can be issued where fly tipped waste is traced back a resident, who failed to take reasonable steps to ensure they have the waste to an authorised person.

They can also be issued where an unauthorised carrier is found to be have household waste collected from a domestic property or where household waste has been transferred to an unauthorised person at a site that does not have a permit or exemption.

The report states: "In all investigations of breaches of household waste duty of care, individuals will be given the opportunity to demonstrate they took reasonable steps to determine the person that took their waste was authorised to do so.

"If fly-tipped waste is traced to an individual, and they are unable to identify who took their waste, or the carrier that they identify is unauthorised, then it is reasonable to believe they have not met their duty of care."

According to the report to the council the £300 fine would be reduced to £200 if paid within 10 days.

Meanwhile councillors also agreed that - for consistency - the level of fixed penalty notice for fly tipping offences should be £300 and reduced to £200 for early repayment, rather than the current reduced level of £180.


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