Farmers could face prosecution and expensive clean-up bills
A warning has been given to farmers in Lancashire and Cumbria asking them not to accept and store baled waste on their farms, or they could face prosecution and possibly be left with a very expensive bill for cleaning up.
During the last couple of months, a number of landowners across the North West have been asked to store baled waste on their farms, for a period of three months and have been offered £600-£1,200 to do so.
When approached, the farmers are being told that the bales need to be stored until an ‘energy plant’ is up and running and then the bales will be picked up.
However, farmers are being warned by the authorities that without the correct permit being in place, the acceptance of such bales is illegal. They have also warned farmers that there’s a strong possibility that the bales will not be collected and the farmers will be left with an expensive clean-up bill.
The Environment Agency’s Andy Coleman said, that no matter how appealing the offer of payment to store baled waste might seem, doing so was illegal.
Mr Coleman added that there are no permits in place to manage the storage and that the bales are quite often badly wrapped and split upon delivery, leading to the contents spilling out. There is also a greater risk of fly infestations and waste fires because it hasn’t been stored correctly.
“Consequently, farmers are putting themselves at risk of enforcement action being taken against them.” Said Mr Coleman.
Lancashire NFU county adviser, Adam Briggs, said that farmers need to remember their duty of care when it comes to waste and the required permits.
Mr Briggs added that an environmental permit, or waste exemption is required to store, or use waste material.
He recommended that if a farmer is asked to store baled mixed municipal waste on their farm, whether short-term or long-term, they should not accept the material and speak to the Environment Agency immediately.
If any farmer is currently storing such waste, or has recently been asked to store such waste on their farm, contact the Environment Agency (EA) immediately, via their 24-hour incident hotline – 0800 807060.
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