Defra recently released information stating the government’s intention to step up the fight to tackle waste crime.
‘Waste criminals act illegally to evade landfill tax, undercut responsible waste disposal businesses, operate illegal waste sites, export waste illegally and fly-tip – blighting communities with bad smells, fly infestations and fires.
Their activity cost the English economy more than £600 million in 2015 and the review recently announced by the Environment Secretary is the next step in the government’s ongoing work to tackle the crime – which is already a serious offence with tough penalties.
A Call for Evidence launched on the 10th June will enable a wide group of people to have their say on ways to crack-down further on Organised Crime Groups (OCGs), who profit from waste crime.
The review will be chaired by Lizzie Noel, a Non-Executive Director at Defra.
Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, said: “Organised criminals running illegal waste dumps and fly-tipping are blighting local communities. They cost our economy vast amounts of money, pollute our environment and harm our wildlife.
We must crack-down on these criminals who have no regard for the impact they have on peoples’ lives. The time is right for us to look at how we can best tackle these antisocial and inexcusable crimes.”
The review will:
- Consider the types of crimes being committed and organised crime groups involved;
- Consider the environmental, community and economic impacts of serious and organised waste crime;
- Consider how the Environment Agency, other organisations, and the law enforcement system can work together to tackle the threat;
- Make recommendations for a strategic approach to serious and organised waste crime.
Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, said: “Last year, we closed down two illegal wastes sites a day and were granted new powers to complement our existing enforcement efforts. Our officers are also out in communities, preventing and disrupting criminals through our intelligence led investigations, and also dealing with the consequences of illegally dumped waste to the environment and the wider community.
We welcome the opportunity to review how best we deploy our resources and strengthen ties across government and with the police to target organised criminal rings behind illegal waste operations, and bring perpetrators to justice.
The Government has also recently given councils powers to hand out on-the-spot fines to fly-tippers, made it easier for vehicles suspected of being used for fly-tipping to be stopped, searched and seized, and later this year will introduce new fixed penalty notices for householders who pass their waste to a fly-tipper, subject to Parliamentary approval.”
The review is due to be completed by September 2018.
For further information click here: www.gov.uk and for the open consultation – Serious and organised crime in the waste sector: Call for Evidence, which is due to close on the 8th of July, click on the following link: www.consult.defra.gov.uk