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Duty of care prosecution

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Friday 29 March

Make sure you know who's taking away your waste

A Sidcup woman man is almost £400 out of pocket after clothes, furniture and household waste was dumped in Swale.

Lucy Thorn, of Haven Close, Sidcup, was prosecuted by Swale Borough Council after waste was dumped on Ridham Dock Road in May last year.

Council officers traced the waste back to Miss Thorn who, when asked to help explain how it got there, failed to assist the council with its enquiries.

As there were no witnesses to the fly-tipping, and no further information about how it got there, the council decided to prosecute Miss Thorn for failing in her duty of care to make sure her waste was handled responsibly.

Miss Thorn plead guilty to a charge under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 at Medway Magistrates Court on 7 March. She was fined £161 and ordered to pay £205 costs and a victim surcharge of £30.

Alister Andrews, environment response manager at the council, said:

Householders have a duty of care to make sure whoever is taking waste away will dispose of it properly.

"If someone doesn’t help us to identify who dumped their waste, we can still - and will – take the appropriate legal action.

"We need people to understand that their waste is their responsibility. Anyone offering to take it away has to be registered to carry waste, or it could end up fly-tipped, and you could be prosecuted for failing to take reasonable steps to prevent it.

"There are simple ways to check someone is licenced to carry waste, and reputable firms won’t demand to be paid in cash – they’ll accept traceable methods like card or online payments which should give you some reassurance and a record of the transaction which could be vital if your rubbish is then found dumped on the borough’s roads."

A new Fixed Penalty Notice for householders came into force in January. Anyone who fails to check that their waste carrier has a licence could be given a £400 Fixed Penalty Notice.

To check whether someone is licenced to carry waste visit the Environment Agency website or call 03708 506506.

For more information about fly-tipping, and what the council is doing to tackle it, visit

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