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Prosecuted for contractor’s fly-tipping

The owner of a house clearance company has been prosecuted after household items were dumped in several streets by his sub-contractor.

Jeffrey Avery of Avery Associates, Thirsk Road, Mitcham, pleaded guilty to failing in his duty of care at Bromley Magistrates’ Court and was ordered to pay a total of £570. Under section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, anyone dealing with waste must keep it safe, make sure it’s dealt with responsibly and only given to businesses authorised to take it. 

“This prosecution serves as a stark reminder that we all have a responsibility and a duty of care to make sure our waste - whether old furniture, glass bottles, newspapers, grass clippings or whatever - is disposed of legally and without harming the environment. When you give your waste to somebody else to dispose of, you are still personally responsible for what they do with it, so always be sure to check that whoever you do hire is a legitimate and registered waste carrier and that you are given the correct paperwork to serve as proof that the waste has been transferred responsibly” said Councillor Colin Smith, Executive Councillor for Environment. 

In February, a council Enviro-crime enforcement officer was alerted to fly-tipping in Eden Way, Beckenham. An inspection of the street revealed several black bags, general household waste and a large quantity of old newspapers. In several roads nearby, there were other fly-tipped household items including more black bags, cardboard, wood, wallpaper, wine bottles, paint pots and old furniture including a sideboard, dining chairs and large armchair. 

The waste was traced back to a Beckenham address where investigations revealed that the householder had died and the family had arranged for the house to be cleared out by Avery Associates. Jeffrey Avery was contacted and stated that he’d given the work to somebody he hadn’t used before and admitted that he didn’t obtain a waste transfer note as proof either. 

Mr Avery was able to provide an invoice and contact details for his sub-contractor. Through further investigation it was discovered that there was no record of them or any waste carrier operating from this address, which in fact was a playing field. Prosecution followed under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 section 34 which states that residents and businesses must keep their waste safe, deal with it responsibly and only give to authorised waste carriers. 

Residents and businesses are advised to always use registered waste carriers, check their credentials at www.bromley.gov.uk/wastecarriers or call the Environment Agency hotline on 03708 506 506, and always obtain a waste transfer note as proof of transfer to an authorised person. Failure to do so could mean prosecution and fine of up to £5,000.