Duty of care

The duty of care affects anyone who produces, carries, disposes of or otherwise holds any household/business or industrial waste. The law requires you to do all that is reasonable to:

Always make sure that the person taking your waste away (and this includes tree loppings) is a registered waste carrier and will properly dispose of the waste. For certain items you can use our bulky waste collection service or take your waste to a local recycling centre.

All householders and businesses can help eliminate fly-tipping by dealing only with responsible waste carriers and contractors. Anybody carrying waste for reward has to have a valid waste carriers' licence and you should check that the person you are handing your waste to has a valid licence. If you are unsure, you can also check the public register of waste carriers on the Environment Agency's website .

As a householder you merely have to be satisfied that you taken all reasonable precautions to ensure that you have given your waste to a licensed contractor and that you know its likely destination. Be wary of any contractor that cold calls and offers to take waste away on your behalf without showing a licence. If this material is later dumped and it can be traced back to your address, you may be liable for the dumping.

Non-domestic producers of waste such as businesses are required to enter into a contract for the collection of their waste. This is not a service that is paid for from business rates and non-domestic customers may choose any licensed waste contractor to carry this service out on their behalf. Waste may also be taken by the business directly to a landfill site or other licensed disposal site, but in order to do this they must have a valid carriers' licence. When businesses transfer waste to a carrier or disposal site they must obtain a waste transfer note which describes the type and quantity of waste. You must keep these documents safely and available for inspection for a minimum of two years. Council officers will make occasional inspections to ensure that businesses are complying with their duty of care in respect of waste.