Welsh Environment Agency tackles illegal dumping of tyres

The Environment Agency Wales is taking steps to tackle the illegal dumping of waste tyres, with an initial two week awareness raising and information gathering project, which will then be on-going once the full scale of the problem has been established.

The initiative is also expected to be carried out in England at a later date, and is involving visits by Agency officers to local tyre retailers, vehicle dismantlers and waste carriers throughout Wales. “There are certain areas in Wales that are hotspots, such as the South Wales valleys,” an Environment Agency Wales spokesman told edie.

The European Landfill Directive bans the disposal of whole tyres by landfill by 2003 and shredded tyres by 2006, so that the Environment Agency is concerned that unless action is taken now, tyre dumping could increase significantly. In the UK, the illegal disposal of tyres can result in fines of up to £20,000 and possible imprisonment, although a man who was recently prosecuted for dumping 1.6 million tyres received a total of only 240 hours community service (see related story).

The UK as a whole generates 427,000 waste tyres per year, with over two thirds recovered for beneficial use, and many of the remainder are dumped at unauthorised sites of fly-tipped. Most tyre waste is regarded as controlled waste and need to be handled in accordance with the duty of care requirements specified in the Environmental Protection Act 1990, so that all reasonable steps should be taken to ensure their safe storage and disposal, and they should only be transported by a registered waste carrier.

“The illegal activities of a few unscrupulous operators causes harm to the environment and gives the tyre industry a bad name,” said an Environment Agency spokesman. “The Agency is working closely with the industry to gather information and root out the illegal operators.”

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