Illegal waste operators targeted by new partnership

The Environmental Services Association (ESA) and the Environment Agency have launched a new partnership to fight waste crime and illegal site operators.

The two organisations have agreed to work together to tackle the issue and raise standards across the waste services sector.

In particular, they will work to share information and have promised to take ‘tough action’ against those who pass waste onto illegal waste sites and operators.

Under the new agreement, representatives will also work with the EA to develop more effective regulations, which will help the quango ‘focus resources on the poorest performing sites’.

The two organisations have also pledged to work with the government to ensure that waste is only handled at sites by trained staff.

A report published by the ESA in May claimed illegal waste sites and carriers were costing the legitimate waste industry and the taxpayer £604m a year.

It blamed weak regulation as a major cause. For example, anyone can obtain a licence to carry waste by paying a small online fee, but most carriers and sites are rarely inspected.

According to the report, the majority of waste crime comes from waste from businesses, not from households.

The report also found the most serious waste crime falls into one of six categories: illegal waste sites, inaccurately describing waste, illegal export of waste, illegal burning of waste, fly tipping and serious breaches of permit conditions.

At a time when waste crime seems more entrenched than ever, it is vital that the regulator is able to trust ESA members to do the right thing and focus its resources on criminals and poor performing operators,’ said ESA chair, Stewart Davies.

The industry is an excellent source of technical expertise, which will be made available to help the Agency deliver its objectives. This is a fine example of regulatory best practice which can be an example to other sectors.’

The chief executive of the Environment Agency, Sir James Bevan, added: ‘We want to work with responsible operators to deliver more targeted regulations but also focus our resources on hitting the worst offenders which is good news for legitimate businesses, the economy and local communities.

In addition, a more proactive approach to duty of care will plug weaknesses in the supply chain and prevent waste from leaking into the hands of criminals.’

Photo by HM Revenue & Customs

Jamie Hailstone

Jamie Hailstone

journalist

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