A director at Sita UK has warned of criminals illegally dumping refuse derived fuel (RDF), saying not enough was being done to tackle the problem.
Stuart Hayward-Higham, development director at Sita UK, took to social media site Twitter to warn that the growing criminal activity was undermining legitimate businesses.
@christineottery not 2nd, over last few years we have seen multiple cases. Big & growing business undermining legitimate operators
— S Hayward-Higham (@stuhhigh_SITA) May 14, 2013
His comments follow the dumping of an estimated 3,000 tonnes of baled RDF at a site in Birmingham. The material contained carpets, low grade plastic film and paper which MRW understands came mostly from a municipal source.
The Environment Agency (EA) said the incident was being investigated by its environmental crime team and the landowners have started to remove the bales. MRW understands the landowners’ bill for cleaning up the site will be around £300,000.
Hayward-Higham told MRW that around 100,000 bales had also been dumped on an airfield a few weeks earlier, and there had been a further incident at a Midlands warehouse.
It is believed criminals are making large amounts of money by charging to collecting residual household and business waste but dumping it in remote areas rather than using in a legitimate way.
Hayward-Higham also tweeted: “Illegal rdf 2, possible £hundreds of thousands of ill gotten gains for those who made it and dumped it said the volume of cases had been increasing over the years”.
He told MRW: “We as a company are concerned about the quantity of RDF that is not being moved, and is appearing in fields and warehouses and other [locations].“We are trying to protect the reputation of those companies like us who produce and export ethically. And so we have been trying to get local people to inspect [suspected sites].”
An EA spokeswoman urged anyone with further information on the Birmingham incident to get in contact.
Earlier this month, the EA and police raided a site at Waltham Cross in Hertfordshire where around 1,500 bundles of household and business waste was illegally dumped on open land and camouflaged as plastic-wrapped hay bales. Three men were arrested.
In April, three men were arrested after 1,500 bales were discovered in farmland in Thurrock in Essex.
The EA described the incidents as “fly tipping but on a massive and organised scale”.