The extent of illegal tyre dumping in the UK and associated illicit exporting has been laid bare by a high-profile media investigation.
Criminal gangs are collecting millions of used tyres from garages which have charged motorists for disposal, and are illegally ditching them on unsuspecting landowner’s property, according to the BBC’s Panorama television programme.
It investigated how motorists pay a garage a “green fee” to get rid of used tyres which are then paid for by a middleman to take away and recycle. However, it discovered that instead of being burned for fuel or used to line landfill sites or exported, the tyres were illegal dumped in the UK countryside.
The programme claimed that it one case more than 25,000 tyres were dumped in a warehouse in North Wales leaving the landlowners with a bill for £30,000 to clean it up. Journalists tracked down the alleged perpetrators in Majorca to challenge them about the incident, although they declined to comment.
The programme also reported how the Environment Agency can step in to clear up tyre mountains.
UK-tyre recycling firms are experiencing a shortage of supply as they are being undercut by firms from Asia wanting to buy the UK’s used tyres, according to the report.
But Panorama said it had evidence that tyres sold for export to approved countries – which have controls on factory emissions – were being smuggled into Vietnam and China via Malaysia and other approved countries.
The Tyre Recover Association’s secretary general, Peter Taylor, said the organisation’s recycler scheme played a vital role in the legal and environmentally friendly disposal of waste tyres in UK.
“This latest investigation perfectly illustrates why such a scheme is necessary. It also shows the scale of devastation and criminality that results from those intent on operating outside of the law,” said Taylor.