North Yorkshire County Council has welcomed a government plan to harness technological advances to follow hazardous and non-hazardous household, commercial and industrial waste and waste from mines and quarries following mounting concerns and frustration about tackling waste crime, particularly in rural areas.
While recent years have seen North Yorkshire district and borough councils regularly reporting increases in fly-tipping on public land, the clearance of which costs the public purse, farmers and landowners in remote areas have been left having to pay for their land to be cleared.
The North Yorkshire Moors Moorland Organisation says gamekeepers clear away hundreds of bags of litter every year and they are increasingly having to contend with large household items, vehicle tyres and even commercial waste.
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The proposed mandatory tracking system would record waste transferred to another person, company or to another site operated by the same person or company.
The government expects the new regime will make it much harder for rogue operators to compete in the industry and commit waste crime.
An officer’s report to a meeting of leading North Yorkshire councillors states the new digital system will make it easier for businesses to see exactly what happens to their waste, making their duty of care responsibilities much more straightforward.
Local authorities will not track waste from individual household collections.
However, should a resident request a skip, the skip operator will create a digital record and issue the resident a unique identifier.
The resident can view what happens to their waste, giving reassurance that the waste has been disposed of properly and helping to reduce the risk of fly-tipping
The officers’ report describes the proposed real time recording of waste movements and transfers in North Yorkshire as “ambitious and challenging”, particularly in areas with poor Wi-Fi connectivity.
Cllr Don Mackenzie, the authority’s executive member for access, said: “We are currently very busy in expanding the so-called ‘internet of things’ or low range wide area networks, which are making it easier for organisations to monitor things remotely.
“We will be able to monitor the state of our bridges and highways remotely by placing monitors in different parts of the county and find the readings without having to visit, saving time and money.
“Fly-tipping is a problem, but we will be able to monitor many more remote places better as we roll out the internet of things.
"Certainly fly-tipping, which is environmentally totally unacceptable and very unsociable, is a problem that we are very keen to remove.
“In a county as big as North Yorkshire it will take time to be able to monitor remotely every single part of the county, but as time passes by we are working on that and we are working on even the most remote areas to put in connectivity.”