News story

Environment Agency uses ‘eye in the sky’ to monitor waste sites

Our enforcement team use Manchester Fire and Rescue Service's AIR (Aerial Imagery Reconnaissance) unit to view waste sites from the air.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service's AIR (Aerial Imagery Reconnaissance) unit

The remote controlled AIR unit can take pictures and video and also detect elevated heat sources within the waste piles. As waste degrades high temperatures can be created. The unit will identify those areas within the piles which are at a higher risk of self-igniting and have the potential to cause a fire.

We regulate waste sites, issuing permits that detail the conditions they must operate within to ensure the protection of the environment, whilst working with the fire service to identify high-risk fire sites to ensure that waste is handled safely.

Gordon Whitaker, Environment Manager, said:

Fires at waste sites are of increasing concern, particularly around bonfire night. There is always a risk of pollution to watercourses and the local environment.

Everyone who disposes of waste has a duty of care to ensure their waste is handled appropriately. If you don’t dispose of your waste correctly you risk being prosecuted and fined. If you run a business or other organisation this could seriously damage your reputation.

He continues:

This 5 November we are also reminding people about the types of materials that are safe to burn. Small amounts of paper, leaves, wood and cardboard are all fine. However, treated wood, tyres, plastic, rubber and oil can pose serious risks to health and the environment. Many people don’t consider the implications of dumping illegal waste on their bonfire, so it is essential that it remains secure. If you’re organising a bonfire night this week, make sure you know where the bonfire material has come from and that it is suitable.

You can call the Environment Agency on 03708 506 506 to find out how to responsibly manage any waste your business produces or visit our managing your waste pages.

We can all play a part in helping to prevent waste getting into the hands of criminals. If you suspect that a company is doing something wrong, you can call the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60 or report it anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Published 5 November 2015