A NEW law comes into force today (Monday, November 21) aimed at tackling one of the fastest growing problems in the countryside - fly-tipping. But be warned: you could become a criminal if you employ a builder or gardener who illegally dumps your rubbish.
Last year, over 50 per cent of fly-tipping involved household waste. The costs of dealing with this have now risen to around £150 million per year, according the leading Northern law firm, Halliwells.
These extra costs have proved a burden for taxpayers and farmers, particularly those whose land lies near to towns and cities. Many beauty spots in the Yorkshire Dales are desecrated each year by fly-tippers from West Yorkshire and industrial Lancashire.
But from today, householders can be prosecuted if their gardener, bricklayer or handyman dumps their waste illegally.
The 'duty of care' rules, which used to only apply to commercial waste, will now also apply to householders. This means that everyone has a personal responsibility to ensure their waste gets taken away by a licensed contractor. If people are not careful they can face prosecution before the dust has even settled on their new kitchen extension.
Michelle Headrige, Halliwells' Environmental lawyer says: "Fly-tipping is a major problem in the UK with around half a million incidents in 2004. With the recent boom in property renovations and house make-overs across the country, the problem is only set to get bigger."
She adds: "If householders breach these new rules they can be prosecuted in the criminal courts and end up with a fine and a criminal record. To avoid this, people will need to check whether their contractor is an authorized waste carrier before starting work on their house or garden. Householders should also comply with requirements of their local authority on refuse collection"