Remember your duty on waste disposal - or you could end up being prosecuted

Bernadette Gibbons, Fiona Henry and Kirsty Hadfield with their petition against drug users  needles being found around the city. EMN-180221-155126009
Bernadette Gibbons, Fiona Henry and Kirsty Hadfield with their petition against drug users needles being found around the city. EMN-180221-155126009

As regular readers will know, fly-tipping is a big bugbear for our team, and something we are continually working to tackle (writes Rob Hill, assistant director for Community Safety at Peterborough City Council).

The council is currently looking at new ways that the problem can be alleviated, because we know it is an issue that residents are particularly concerned about.

One message, we always like to remind people about, is to remember your duty of care when it comes to disposing of waste.

Environmental protection law requires all householders to make sure their waste is only removed from their premises by registered waste carriers.

Unlicensed businesses may be tempted to dump waste they collect in order to avoid charges for proper disposal.

If you have paid an unlicensed business to collect waste and the waste gets dumped and traced back to you, then the law states that the waste is your responsibility, and you can be prosecuted ending up with a heavy fine.

People may have the impression that if they pay someone to collect the waste that they then become responsible for it. This is not the case.

While we fully understand why people would be tempted to find the cheapest option to get rid of unwanted items, we must stress that it really isn’t worth the risk.

However, this situation can be easily avoided.

Whenever you are considering arranging for anyone other than Peterborough City Council to collect any waste from your home, always carry out the following checks:

Ask to see their waste carriers licence - you can check to see if they are registered waste carriers by searching the Environment Agency’s public register of waste carriers online or by phoning them on 03708 506 506.

Record the registration number of any vehicle used to transport your waste.

Always ask for a proper invoice or receipt.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions - always ask exactly what is going to happen to your waste, and seek evidence that it is going to be disposed of correctly.

Finally, if you suspect that someone who collected waste is suspicious you can report this to us by calling the council on 01733 747474.

If you are able to provide us with details of their names, vehicles and the waste they collected then we will investigate.

I would however point out that I would never encourage anyone to actively investigate suspicious activity themselves. Please leave this to professionals.

With autumn already upon us and winter just around the corner, the importance of staying safe for pedestrians and motorists increases.

We’ll be supporting the annual Be Safe Be Seen campaign shortly, which highlights practical advice that everyone can use.

The campaign is particularly focused on helping children keep safe especially when they are walking home from school on darker winter evenings.

We’ll be sharing some of this advice on our social media channels, so look out for it as it could save a life.

Finally, you may be aware of the Needless Needles campaign which was launched by three women from Peterborough with the aim of tackling the problem of discarded needles in the city.

Fiona Henry, Kirsty Hadfield and Bernadette Gibbons (pictured) decided to take action after noticing more needles in their neighbourhoods and have achieved a great deal since launching the initiative. As a council we’re always keen to listen to people’s concerns and feedback, so earlier this year we started a multi-agency taskforce and invited Fiona, Kirsty and Bernadette to be part of this.

The trio have brought specific and practical advice to the table about which approaches are likely to have the biggest impact in the areas where they live.

We are making progress - already we have set up a hotline for reports discarded needles and produced posters and leaflets aimed at making drug users aware of the importance of disposing needles.

We continue to work on developing long-term solutions and will keep you updated. We also welcome feedback and suggestions on this subjectYou can email saferpeterborough@peterborough.gov.uk

Meanwhile we would urge anyone who finds a discarded needle not to touch it and to report it to us as soon as possible via the MyPeterborough smartphone app or by calling 01733 747474.