A friend had someone clear my waste. They said they were licensed but were not. Now I'm being interviewed under caution. Can they do this?

4th Oct 2017

CATEGORY: Criminal


1 answer
  • Kent Criminal Law


    Section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 makes it an offence  to deposit controlled waste, or knowingly cause or permit controlled waste to be deposited in or on, any land other than in accordance with a waste management licence. Normally where the word 'knowingly' is used in Acts of parliament, it has been given a fairly tight interpretation by the courts. This is however, not the case with this piece of legislation and the section is treated effectively as one of strict liability. There is potential for a defence if you can show that all reasonable precautions were taken and you  exercised all due diligence to avoid the commission of the offence. A further defence is that the act was necessitated by an emergency in order to avoid a danger to the public. 

    Offences under the EPA can be investigated both by the Environment Agency and your local authority. To the question can they interview you, the asnwer is yes. However, this is likely to be a voluntary interview and so the question then arises as to a) whether you should attend and b) should you answer questions if you do attend. The answers to these questions will depend on a number of factors, not least the evidence that the local authority say that they have against you. I would recommend that you obtain legal advice before you attend any interview to obtain the suggested answers to a and b  Many local authorities will offer a civil penalty alternative to prosecution (usually between £300 and £400). Sometimes people accept these penalties to avoid going to court when in reality, there was not sufficient evidence for the case to have gone to court anyway.

    As the fines imposed for fly-tipping offfence can be high, I would recommend obtainng legal advice before contemplating attending the interiview. We have experience in dealing with these cases and offer a free initial consultation. Contact  us on 01843 799121 or email msg@kentcriminallaw.com. A list of solicitors who deal with specific areas of law is available from the law society http://solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk. If you follow the link it will take you to our blog post on this subject posted earlier in the year https://www.kentcriminallaw.com/single-post/2017/03/04/Fly-tipping-and-the-waste-mine-field-Part-1

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