The government is considering tightening laws to control dumping on private land. Anyone wanting to dump construction material on private land would need official authorisation, said Alain Lam Kwok-lun, acting assistant director of the Environmental Protection Department, at a Legislative Council panel yesterday. It is presently legal for waste transporters, property developers or managers to deposit construction and demolition material on private land as long as the landowner agrees, even if there is public concern about damage to the environment. 'Because of increasing public concern, we are now studying the feasibility of amending the Waste Disposal Ordinance to introduce an authorisation requirement from the Environmental Protection Department,' Mr Lam said. The department is working on the details and will consult district councils and the Heung Yee Kuk rural body in the middle of the year. A government source said dumping would not be allowed on a certain proportion of the site area. And before giving approval, departments would look at the impact the filling would have on such areas as drainage, slopes and rivers. Another amendment would require the dumper to produce the landowner's written permission to enforcement officers. Failure to collect this would be an offence. The source said: 'At present, our officers have no right to require the dumper to produce owners' consent documents. On-site prosecution is difficult as officers have to go back, check whether it is private land and, if so, find out the owner.' Democratic Party lawmaker Lee Wing-tat said the proposed amendments would fill loopholes, especially land-filling on farmland, which is permitted if the filling is no more than 1.2 metres thick. 'If they get paid, some landowners are willing to let construction waste be dumped on their land,' Mr Lee said. Other owners were happy to see their abandoned farmland converted into barbecue sites, car parks and storage sites for cargo terminals, he added. The government said last year that 152 private sites had seen illegal dumping between 2005 and 2008, covering 71 hectares in total. More than 66 per cent of the sites were in Yuen Long and North District.