A £70 job for a ‘man with a van’ to clear household waste ended up costing him more than £1,000. Craig Westland answered a Facebook post from a woman in Soham who wanted someone to dispose of some waste. Price agreed, Westland took the job.
Unfortunately, his credentials were short of just about everything needed to transfer waste legally. And he might have got away with except for a letter inside some of the rubbish found dumped in a Cambridgeshire layby which environment officers were able to use to track him down.
The household waste was found in a layby outside of Witchford and Westland was taken to court by East Cambridgeshire District Council where he admitted three charges brought against him.
Cambridge magistrates fined him £440 and ordered him to pay a further £654 in costs and compensation.
Westland appeared in court on September 19: the offences related to transporting controlled waste with a view to profiting from it without the correct licence, failing to prevent waste from escaping along Pools Road between Witchford and Wilburton and not disposing or transferring the waste correctly or with the required documentation.
The offences, which were all committed in February 2023, were contrary to the Control of Pollution Act, the Environmental Protection Act and Waste Regulations.
Westland was brought to court after officers from East Cambridgeshire District Council found a wooden cupboard along with other household waste in a layby alongside Pools Road.
The cupboard was found to contain a letter which the council traced back to an address in Soham where a women told officers she had contacted Ely Van Man via Facebook and paid him £70 to dispose of her waste.
Admitting the breach of the waste duty of care, the court heard the back of Westland’s van doors had opened while he was on his way to work and some of the waste had fallen out of his van when he was rounding the corner on Pools Road.
He had said he had disposed of the remaining waste items by placing them in a commercial skip, which the court heard he did not have the correct licence to use, and by taking them to Witchford Recycling Centre, which should only be used by residents for domestic waste and not by commercial waste carriers.
Cllr Julia Huffer, chair of the council’s operational services committee, said: “Anyone who commercially disposes of waste has a duty to ensure they have the correct licence to carry that waste.
“They also need to complete the correct documentation for the waste they are carrying, detailing what it is and where it has come from and sign for it and dispose of it at a site licensed to accept it and to keep it secure while it is in transit.
“We take these offences extremely seriously and as this case proves will not hesitate to prosecute anyone in breach of these conditions.”
She added: “We also all have a duty as residents to ensure we dispose of our waste responsibly. If you need to dispose of waste, it is essential you check the individual or the company you are using has a waste carriers’ licence. If not, you could also be fined in addition to the person or business collecting the waste for you.”
To find out if a business or individual has a waste carriers’ licence go to the Environment Agency public register and type in the name of the business.
More information about how to dispose of waste, including how to check for licences, where to find recycling centres or book bulky waste collections is available on East Cambridgeshire District Council’s website.
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