No excuse for illegally burning waste
The Environment Agency respond to many reports about the burning of waste every year. Burning waste can produce harmful gasses and the residue can pollute surface and ground water leading to land contamination. Where inappropriate wastes are burned in the open air, those responsible can face unlimited fines. Find out how to manage your waste correctly and improve our environment in the process in this Environment Agency blog.
Bonfire Night, think!
As well as the safety risks caused by bonfires, they have an impact on the climate and, if the wrong materials are burned, can harm wildlife, the environment and human health.
Kevin Baker of the Environment Agency said:
‘We want people to have fun on Bonfire Night – but to do so safely and in a way that won’t create a risk to the environment, wildlife and to you and your neighbours.’
Cooking oil theft
There is an escalating trend concerning the theft of waste cooking oil from the hospitality and catering industry across the UK. Organised crime groups are thought to be behind this activity.
The Environment Agency is working with the Police and other partners in building a picture of this crime type. Please let Crimestoppers know if you have any information about this activity including (1) where theft has occurred, (2) vehicles suspected of being involved, (3) information about where stolen cooking oil is going to.
If you see or suspect a crime in progress, please call the Police on 101, or 999 in an emergency. If you have any non-urgent information please contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their website.
Great British Spring Clean (25th March – 10th April)
Devon residents and community groups are being called on by #Cleandevon to help clean up the county, as Keep Britain Tidy’s nationwide annual Great British Spring Clean returns
This year the message is simple. Join the #BigBagChallenge and pledge to pick up as much litter as you can from 25 March – 10 April 2022.
Pledging to take part in the Great British Spring Clean (GBSC) couldn’t be easier, simply pledge as an individual, a group or a school, and let the GBSC know how many bags you pledge to pick up.
Clean Devon, a multi-agency partnership is backing the campaign, encouraging residents across the Devon to organise a group clean-up or pledge to do their own individual litter pick.
Your local council can help by providing litter picking equipment and will collect litter during the clean-up event by prior arrangement.
Residents who would like to borrow equipment or arrange for a collection of litter should contact their local council.
Tackling the impact of waste crime
The Clean Devon Partnership is highlighting the enormous scale of the county’s fly-tipping problem with a campaign taking place on Roborough Downs and the surrounding area between 14 and 17 March 2022.
Local authorities in Devon (inc Plymouth and Torbay) recorded a staggering 13,463 incidents of fly-tipping on public land in 2020/21 with the majority of them (65%) involving household waste, which residents can put out for collection by local authorities or take to recycling centres.
About 30% of incidents included construction, demolition and excavation waste; white goods; green waste; other electrical waste; tyres; vehicles parts; animal carcasses; chemical drums, oil and fuel; clinical waste and asbestos. Three per cent of incidents were commercial waste.
The National Fly Tipping Prevention Group estimates it costs landowners between £50m and £150m to clear up this onslaught of fly-tipping each year. The true scale of the problem is extremely hard to measure as many landowners do not report incidents.
The focus of the campaign is to raise awareness, empower people to report fly-tipping through the correct channels and encourage householders to use the network of recycling centres across the county. Those who use a contractor must ensure they are reputable and licenced for waste removal.
Fly-tipping is a serious crime and local authorities always look to catch and prosecute those committing it. It is punishable by up to two years imprisonment and up to a £50,000 fine upon conviction, with the increased use of CCTV, local awareness groups and the sharing of vehicle details on social media platforms we are optimistic that more people will be caught in the act!
Environment agency Waste Crime Engagement Specialist, Kevin Baker said: “The impacts of waste crime are widespread. It has an adverse effect on individuals, legitimate waste disposal businesses, public services, the environment and the economy.
“Illegal tipping is an eyesore. It can pollute the environment through the release of hazardous dust, or surface and groundwater contamination. Tipping could potentially damage human health or wildlife and livestock, through irresponsible dumping of hazardous substances, for example asbestos, and unauthorised fires and burning.
“It’s essential that people challenge who they give their waste to, ask where it will go, record the details of the vehicles used, avoid cash and get a receipt. Any legitimate operator would be happy with these requests.”
Guidance on how to report fly-tipping can be found on the Clean Devon web page along with the simple guide below which will help you ensure you are staying within the law.
You can follow the campaign on the Clean Devon website and on Twitter via the hashtag #CleanDevon.
• Check the credentials of anyone you hire to remove waste via the Environment Agency public register or ring/email the Environment Agency 03708 506506 or email@example.com
• When they arrive, ask to see their licence to ensure that your waste is being taken by a licensed waste carrier.
• Take a note or photograph of the registration number of the vehicle that is being used to take your rubbish away.
• Ask where your rubbish is being taken, record any checks you make and ask for a receipt.
• Use any contractor who cold calls on you without checking them out before committing yourself. If the contractor is genuine, they will return.
• Use contractors who leave cards or leaflets without checking them out.
• Use any contractor whose terms seem too good to be true; if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Keep Britain Tidy – Ocean Recovery Project
Over 2021 summer season, 1,082 snapped plastic body boards were recovered from just a handful of south west beaches. This campaign aims to help people make the right choice and avoid buying cheap bodyboards, instead through the #WaveOfWaste £1 hire scheme. For further details see Keep Britain Tidy.
Working together to tackle Rural Crime
Rural Crime cost the UK over £43m in 2020 so a new campaign has been launched by CrimeStoppers to explain what it is and what you can do to help.
The campaign recognises that ‘rural crime is repetitive and organised, but without information it can’t be tackled’ so is calling on people to speak up to stop this criminal activity.
The good news is you can report information anonymously through CrimeStoppers
Follow the Countryside Code
When visiting parks and waterways, coast and countryside, please follow the new Countryside Code.
Intended for locals and visitors, the Clean Devon Partnership welcomes the new code which encourages us to Respect everyone, Protect the countryside and Enjoy the outdoors.
In 2020, we had a glimpse how bad things could get with many popular destinations overwhelmed with litter. With 80% of ocean plastic carried from land by rivers, streams and drains, we can all play a part in avoiding this in the future.
Follow the Countryside Code.
Here’s how to help
Devon is beautiful – let’s keep it that way – find a bin or take your litter home
- Follow the Countryside Code: Protect, Respect, Enjoy
- While you are out enjoying Devon whether at the beach, in the countryside or in our amazing towns and villages, if you see litter why not join with your friends/family to do a 2 minute litter pick?
- Spread the word by sharing posts from our partners under #Clean Devon
See our Get Involved pages for more advice.