New wave of checks to ensure shops and businesses following flytip rules
Published: Thursday 30th October 14
The council’s waste enforcement team will be conducting a round of checks on shops and businesses in the borough to ensure they are fully complying with important rules on preventing flytips.
The team will be checking that shops, offices and other businesses have a proper trade waste collection agreement with a registered contractor.
By law all businesses must keep records showing how they have disposed of their commercial waste. They can employ a licensed contractor to remove it or owners can take it themselves to an authorised site, but they must keep records and/or receipts to prove they have complied with these rules.
It is unlawful for businesses to use taxpayer-funded refuse collection services. Business rates, which are paid to central Government and not town halls, do not cover the cost of commercial collections.
Any business that does not have a contract for the removal of its waste or fails to keep proper records showing how its waste was disposed of is guilty of an offence. Upon conviction fines of up to £5,000 can be imposed at a magistrates court.
The waste enforcement team will also be checking that businesses are following “time band” rules which set out the times of the day when their contractors must remove their waste.
This innovative scheme, which was awarded a commendation in the Keep Britain Tidy Network Awards, is designed to reduce the number of unsightly binbags and piles of unwanted cardboard boxes that businesses often leave out on pavements.
Before these rules were introduced many left their commercial refuse out on the highway for long periods until their contractors were able to remove it. The time band scheme outlaws this practice.
Instead businesses are given two time bands or windows – each lasting two hours – in which they are permitted to leave their refuse out for collection. Any business that places waste material on the highway outside of these time windows will be guilty of a flytip offence and could be fined.
There are two time bands covering the borough - 9am to 11am and 9pm to 11pm for Putney, Wandsworth and Battersea and 10am to midday and 10pm to midnight for Balham and Tooting. Restricting the hours when binbags can be left out for collection is designed to smarten up the borough and reduce the chances of unsightly piles of binbags and cardboard boxes causing upset to residents and visitors.
Commercial waste must also be placed inside easily identifiable coloured sacks or ones marked with a waste company’s name or logo to ensure they are not picked up at the expense of council tax payers.
Community services spokesman Cllr Jonathan cook said: “These rules have been in place in most parts of the borough since 2010 and are designed to prevent shopkeepers and other traders putting unsightly binbags, packaging and other commercial waste out on the highway whenever they feel like it.
“Under this system their refuse must be removed within a maximum timescale of two hours. If the bags and boxes are not taken away by their contractors for whatever reason, the businesses must bring them back inside their premises and wait for the next time band.
“They must also use coloured and marked binliners that clearly show they contain commercial waste, so there’s no confusion about who is responsible for collecting them.
“This is a good system that has worked well in keeping our busy town centres free of flytips generated by shops and businesses. In return this has also hugely benefited them by making these areas more attractive destinations for shoppers.
“At the moment, complaints about litter or flytips are coming into us at the rate of just one a day, which is pretty phenomenal for a London borough the size of Wandsworth. At the same time detailed surveys show that 96 per cent of local streets are successfully meeting demanding national standards for cleanliness.”
Every residential road in Wandsworth is cleaned at least twice a week. Busy residential roads with a high footfall can be cleaned as many as seven times a week
Busy town centres like Tooting and Clapham Junction receive six cleans every day while the others are cleaned at least four times a day.
There is now also greater co-ordination between street sweeping teams and refuse collection crews with the street cleaners shadowing their colleagues closely to ensure that any spillages are picked up quickly.
The council is also urging residents not to leave their bin bags out for collection too early in the week. They should only be left out on the morning they are scheduled to be picked up. Bags that are left out too early can be ripped open by cats and foxes and their contents spread all over pavements and people’s front gardens.
If at all possible bin bags should be placed in metal or plastic dustbins with a lid. Refuse should never be left on the highway where it can cause an obstruction or attract other flytips.
Residents with front gardens are requested to leave their bags or dustbins close to the front of their properties, while those without front gardens should leave it as close as possible to their doorsteps.
Businesses can find full details about their legal responsibilities at www.wandsworth.gov.uk/waste.
If people see rubbish being dumped or flytipped, they are strongly urged to contact waste services. Passing on details of who is doing the dumping can help the council take legal action against the culprits while reporting it quickly means it can be removed speedily.