A Selly Oak-based lettings agency has been ordered to pay more than £5,000 after pleading guilty to illegally dumping waste from the business at Birmingham Magistrates Court today (December 4).
Direct Housing Ltd, based at 543 Bristol Road, Selly Oak, was prosecuted by Birmingham City Council for two separate offences where bags of commercial waste were found on land at the corner of Grange Road and Bristol Road, Selly Oak, in January and June 2015.
The business, which specialises in student rental properties, was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £766.50 towards court costs, a £180 criminal court charge and a £120 victim surcharge.
Environmental health officers were carrying out bag searches in the area on the dates sacks were found, as it is a location where bin bags are often put out for collection too early. The earliest time bags can be put out for collection is 3.30pm the day before.
On 20 January 2015, officers found around 20 black bin bags at the corner of Grange Road and Bristol Road, and a bag search identified documents and compliments slips relating to Direct Housing Ltd in three of these sacks.
When officers returned to the agency on 22 January 2015, manager Clare Dempster, stated that black bags were put at the rear of the shop and recycling was taken home, adding that she thought she was helping by doing this.
Ms Dempster, when interviewed on 10 March 2015, produced documents dating back from 2009 which set out details previous waste contracts and purchase of waste bags. The letting agency’s most recent waste contract, prior to the offence dates was taken out in January 2011 – this expired in January 2012.
She added that historically Direct Housing Ltd had campaigned to have rubbish removed and met with council officials about having CCTV and posters put up, as well as helping with bag searches themselves.
As a result of the bag search on 20 January 2015, the business took out a new waste contract on 26 January 2015.
However on 8 June 2015, officers inspecting the Selly Oak area found 25 bin bags and carrier bags dumped on the corner of Grange Road and Bristol Road. One of these bags was found to contain commercial waste, lists of property addresses, linked to Direct Housing Ltd.
Cllr Barbara Dring, Chair of the Licensing and Public Protection Committee, added: “Businesses must not use the domestic collection service; they must have a separate contract for their business waste – not doing so has been an offence since the Environmental Protection Act came into effect in 1990.
“Firms that do not have adequate arrangements in place are essentially making the citizens of Birmingham pay for their waste to be collected when it is presented at the kerbside like domestic household rubbish. They are also putting law-abiding firms that do have valid trade waste contracts at a commercial disadvantage as they seek to bypass the legislation that is in place.”
Cllr Lisa Trickett, Cabinet Member for Sustainability for Birmingham City Council, said: “We need to love and respect our neighbourhoods, so it is disappointing to see rubbish being dumped on our streets. There is no excuse for businesses to dump their waste.
“We will use all the powers available to us to take enforcement action and prosecute anyone – businesses or individuals – fly tipping waste in Birmingham. Keeping our city’s streets clean is everyone’s responsibility so we will continue to clamp down on litter bugs and fly tippers, targeting areas where there is a persistent problem.”