Warning to watch out for illegal waste collectors who are making the most of recycling centre closures in Harrogate
Residents are being warned to look out for illegal waste collection workers who are taking advantage of skip closures during the coronavirus crisis.
Local authorities including North Yorkshire County Council have shut down all household waste recycling centres - sparking fears opportunist and undocumented fly-tippers could be out asking for cash to take trash.
Harrogate Borough Council has now warned anyone charging to remove waste must have a licence - and anyone requesting rubbish removals has a legal responsibility to check this.
It said: "If you do not carry out these checks or retain the necessary paperwork you are liable to a fixed penalty notice of £200 for a householder and £300 for a business or prosecution which could result in an unlimited fine.
"In addition if your waste ends up being fly-tipped then you can be prosecuted."
The borough council has also said it is determined to keep regular household waste collections going, whilst warning the service may be disrupted due to staff shortages.
It has also asked anyone with coronavirus or showing symptoms to put personal waste like tissues and disposable cleaning cloths in a tied bag to protect its waste collection workers.
It costs the council around £40,000 every year to clear up piles of illegally dumped rubbish - and whilst it is responsible to tidy up fly-tipped trash in public areas, the onus is on the landowner if waste is dumped on private land.
Working with local authorities, North Yorkshire Police has launched an operation focused on fly-tipping hot spots, suspect vehicles and waste carriers.
Supt Paula Booth said in a statement: “Fly-tipping is a selfish crime that blights local environments and spoils people’s enjoyment of our towns and countryside. It is a source of pollution, a potential danger to public health and a hazard to wildlife. It also undermines legitimate waste businesses who operate within the law."
Coun Andrew Lee, North Yorkshire's Executive Member for Waste Management, is also urging Harrogate households to reduce the amount of waste they create whilst council bin collection services are under pressure.
He said: “We understand that during this time of confinement people are at home when they wouldn’t normally be, so may generate more waste, particularly if they need to have food and other essentials delivered. But we ask them to consider their waste and minimise it as far as possible to support the efforts of the refuse collection teams, who are key workers doing a vital job at a difficult time.
“Any bulky waste would need to be stored at your home until the HWRCs are able to reopen, so if you don’t have space to do that, please hold off on such work.
“Do not fly tip. It is an offence punishable by fines or imprisonment and offenders will be prosecuted. Beyond that it is an eyesore and a potential health hazard at a time when, more than ever, we should be showing respect for the place we live and those we share it with.”
By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.
Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.