Cotswold resident fined for unsafe disposal of hazardous waste
By Bethany Winter | 3rd March 2023
A Cotswold resident has been handed a £400 Fixed Penalty Notice from Cotswold District Council's Environmental Regulatory Services team for illegally disposing of a quantity of asbestos roof tiles in their domestic refuse bin.
The incident, which took place last month, was uncovered by waste collection crew members who spotted the tiles as the last of the contents of the bin they were tipping went into the back of the lorry.
The action - admitted to by the resident - has left the council facing a bill of over £1,000 and a level of disruption to its kerbside service while it dealt with over 9 tonnes of contaminated household waste, which has now been specially disposed of.
The resident was fined for breaching their Duty of Care; in other words, failing to take all reasonable measures to ensure that their waste would not cause harm to others or the environment.
Councillor Andrew Doherty, cabinet member for environment, waste, and recycling at Cotswold District Council, said: "Hazardous waste must be treated properly to ensure that it's not a risk to the health of crews or the public. Even if it's unbroken when placed in a bin, asbestos in the refuse system will at some point be compacted or crushed, and when damaged it will release airborne fibres, which are well known to be hazardous to health.
"The lorry collecting from this resident was half-full when tipped, so the entire load had to be quarantined for a number of days until it could be safely disposed of via an approved waste disposal route. The vehicle was out of action for the whole time this took. The council has also needed to employ the services of a licensed asbestos contractor to remove the resident's bin, which then has to be replaced at further cost.
"We are grateful to the Ubico crew for their quick response and for immediately taking the right actions to ensure the rest of their round could be completed safely so that there was no delay to residents' scheduled collections."
On the back of the incident, the Cotswold District Council is alerting residents to the associated risks of hazardous waste and advising that there are safe and appropriate procedures to follow for disposing of cement-bonded asbestos using the free local Household Recycling Centre (HRC) facilities. Under no circumstances should asbestos be disposed of in the general refuse.
Householders needing to get rid of small amounts must first order a set of heavy-duty plastic asbestos bags and request a permit through Gloucestershire County Council. Once received, the asbestos should be securely wrapped, double-bagged and sealed before being booked in at the local HRC using the relevant online car or van/trailer booking form. Only one request per household is allowable in any given 6-month period.
The site cannot accept any asbestos removed by a contractor and therefore classed as commercial waste or be used for large quantities of asbestos removal.
Bags and permits can be requested from: https://forms.gloucestershire.gov.uk/HouseHoldAsbestos.
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