Farmers are hit by waste scam

Bales of dumped landfill waste.
Bales of dumped landfill waste.

The Environment Agency (EA) is warning landowners about two recent ‘waste bale scam’ incidents in Lincolnshire.

In the last week, the EA’s environmental crime team have dealt with two new incidents where farmers have been asked if they want road planings that can be used to repair roads and farmyards on their 
land.

After accepting the offer and cash, they found bales of landfill waste dumped on their land instead of the expected road planings - leaving them with an environmental liability and a bill to transport and remove the waste to an authorised disposal site.

The first farmer had 25 bales deposited on his land and, including transport and disposal of the waste to a permitted disposal site, it could cost him about £3,000.

A second farmer had approximately 2,500 bales deposited on his land. The cost of disposal could result in a bill of about £300,000.

Farmers may be approached by the Highways Agency to see if they want to reuse road planings or crushed rubble and concrete to repair road and yard areas but farmers need to register the U1 waste exemption with the Environment Agency and abide by the rules.

Peter Stark, senior enforcement officer, said: “Waste criminals can be very convincing and persuasive, sometimes offering £1,000s in cash up front.

“Don’t be tempted by quick money because you could end up with not only a massive disposal bill but also harm to the environment, flies, polluting liquids running out of bales of waste and increased risk of fire. We will investigate these two illegal waste incidents fully and take enforcement action where necessary.

“However, these farmers and landowners may have to pay significant sums to remove the waste legally. Waste crime is a serious issue diverting as much as £1 billion per annum from legitimate businesses and Treasury.”

The Environment Agency is urging all landowners to be wary and not become the next victim of illegal waste disposal and dumping.

Advice from the Environment Agency includes:

l use reputable agents and brokers

l carry out suitable checks and due diligence, i.e. get the individuals details, vehicle registration, ask where the waste is coming from (address, permit number, waste carriers registration)

l inform them you’ll be contacting the Environment Agency or call us whilst they are there

l don’t agree to accept any waste until you have carried out some checks and had a cooling off period to fully consider the offer.

If you see illegal activities, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.