ENFORCEMENT officers at Bradford Council have a new weapon to use in the war against environment criminals.

In April this year Bradford Council’s Executive Members voted to allow officers to take advantage of new laws which give them the power to impose a Fixed Penalty Notice on householders who don’t check that their waste carrier is legitimate and licensed properly.

The legal framework has now been put into place and the officers can start using their new powers.

All householders have a duty of care by law which requires them to take all reasonable measures to ensure that anyone carrying and disposing of their waste is authorised to do so.

If you employ a waste carrier you must have details of the carrier’s business and vehicle, a receipt for the transaction and a copy of the carrier’s waste licence.

If you don’t have these, you can be liable for prosecution if the waste is dumped instead of legally disposed of at an authorised site.

Instead of taking householders to court, which is expensive and very time consuming, enforcement officers have been given the powers to issue the Fixed Penalty Notices to householders of £250, with a £50 discount for early payment.

This allows officers to enforce the regulations without having to take people to court, and also allows them to use their discretion when people have tried their best to take precautions but have been genuinely duped.

Enforcement officers still have powers to issue formal cautions and prosecute people in court for more serious cases.

A large proportion of fly-tipped rubbish is the result of rogue traders collecting people’s rubbish with the promise of disposing of it properly, then dumping it on the street or in the countryside.

This allows unlicensed criminals to undercut genuine waste disposal businesses and blight our surroundings with fly-tipped rubbish.

Some of these rogue operators use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and other platforms to identify clients who might be persuaded to use their services, as well as driving around on the lookout.

Many people are not aware that if fly-tipped rubbish can be traced back them they can end up leaving court with a fine, hefty prosecution costs and a criminal record, whether or not they dumped it themselves, or suspected it was going to be dumped.

Bradford Council believes that one of the most efficient ways to tackle fly-tipping is to identify and prosecute rogue traders and close their illegal business down.

Enforcement officers have the power to seize and destroy vehicles used for fly-tipping and have done so in the past.

Using information from the public, officers have ongoing investigations into illegal traders and are carrying out weekly stop-and-search operations with the police to catch people carrying waste without a licence.

Speaking about the new powers, Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: “Issuing Fixed Penalty Notices is not what we want to do.

“Our primary intention is to reduce the amount of rubbish fly-tipped on our streets and in the countryside.

“The money raised by the Fixed Penalty Notices will be used to cover the costs of removing and disposing of the waste that is fly-tipped by criminals, so the Council Tax payer is not left to foot the bill.

“If we can raise awareness and educate people to do the right thing in the first place, then we will have achieved the outcome we want.

“Please make sure that the carrier you employ is legitimate and follows the rules. Otherwise you will risk being seriously out of pocket.”

Information about how to report fly-tipping and Bradford Council’s own bulky waste collection service can be obtained by calling the Council 01274 431000 or online at our Recycling and waste pages.