By Alex Kapadia
Disposing of old tyres is big business, especially since recent EU regulations came in prohibiting their disposal in landfill sites.
And now the Environment Agency is increasingly facing calls to strengthen its auditing process to target businesses who pay unlicensed agents to get rid of tyres.
Peter Craven, owner of 35-year-old Essex-based tyre casing specialists Grove Road Tyres says there are incidents going on all around London and nationwide where local tyre firms appear to be colluding with illegal operators.
He said: “What happens is that a legitimate company will charge 65 to 80p per tyre to dispose of them properly, and you’ve got these chaps going around in vans saying they’ll do it for 40p.”
These unlicensed operators then dump the tyres illegally and leave landowners or the council to foot the bill to dispose of them properly.
John Seddon, an Environment Agency technical specialist in London, added: “If someone gets rid of tyres at a price like 40p each they must have some inkling that it’s not straightforward.
“But you have to prove that they knowingly participated, and it’s very difficult to prove that someone had knowledge of an act.”
Mr Craven went on: “Every borough is having similar problems. Maybe it was worse ten to 15 years ago, but now there are people making a business out of it. They get an old van and a carrier licence and drive around, and if they can get 400 tyres a day, that’s £200 in one day. The fines are just a slap on the wrist.
“We’re independently audited and we’re registered with the Tyre Recovery Association, and we provide a collection note and duty of care certificate when we pick up the tyres.
“The Environment Agency say they don’t have the manpower. But the way to resolve this is to go to every single tyre shop in the area’s Yellow Pages and ask them who clears their scrap. You then phone up these companies and check and find out if they’re lying.”