People are being warned over the risks of coming into contact with asbestos which has been illegally dumped at several sites including Hinwick, Harrold, Stevington and Wymington.
Asbestos is a toxic substance which can cause serious harm if physically exposed to it. Investigations into the dumping of the material are continuing, however, Bedford Borough Council is urging residents to be extra vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour to the council.
A spokesperson said: “We are concerned there are unofficial asbestos collectors operating in the borough who are taking this hazardous material from households and not disposing of it correctly.
“Asbestos and other hazardous waste needs specialist disposal so must be treated differently from normal waste, as particular rules apply to its transportation and disposal.
“The council can arrange asbestos clearance and we would please ask residents to get in touch if they would like asbestos removed from their properties. Residents need to be careful who they allow to remove this
substance; we are always happy to try and find a solution.”
Minette Batters, deputy president of the National Farmers Union (NFU), said: “As part of the NFU’s Love your Countryside campaign we’re raising the issue that fly-tipping on private land remains a significant problem for farmers
and landowners who are left frustrated when they, the victims of this crime, are left to clear up dumped waste and then made to pay to dispose of it.
“This waste is not only unsightly, it is a danger to human health, livestock and wildlife and, in some cases, can even pollute watercourses and contaminate. We want homeowners to be more responsible for their actions. They should
ensure any rubbish is taken away by a registered carrier and get a receipt. If not, they run the real risk of being prosecuted if any dumped waste is traced back to them. Let’s not ruin the view of the great British countryside.”
By law, householders are now responsible for checking that contractors are correctly disposing of waste. You could face penalties of up to £5,000 if you don’t check that the company or person you give your waste to:
> has a licence to carry waste
> is not taking it to an unlicensed site (dumping)
Those caught fly-tipping may face fines up to £50,000 and/or 12 months’ imprisonment. However, if the case goes to the Crown Court, fines are unlimited and a sentence of up to five years in prison can be awarded if
hazardous waste is dumped.
To report any suspicious behaviour or for more information on asbestos contact Bedford Borough Council:
> By calling 01234 718 060
> Visiting the ‘Environment and Planning’ section on the council’s
> Visiting the ‘REPORT IT ’ section on the council’s website;
> Email at firstname.lastname@example.org
If in doubt, check the company is registered on the Environment gency’s public register.