Carter Jonas
Carter Jonas

Have your say on tackling waste crime

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Welsh Government opened a joint consultation on new Regulations aimed at tackling waste crime which costs the UK more than £500 million each year.

It may seem a dull subject but any farmer who has suffered from fly-tipping in the past, and the possibly substantial cost of clearing up the mess, might want to comment.

It may seem a dull subject but any farmer who has suffered from fly-tipping in the past, and the possibly substantial cost of clearing up the mess, might want to comment.

The consultation is wide-ranging and covers many activities, including organised fly-tipping, illegal dumping of waste, illegal operation of waste management sites (such as non- compliance with permits) and the deliberate misdescription of waste to evade landfill tax.

There has already been an emphasis on waste crime from the Government with Defra’s Waste Crime Action Plan intended to increase enforcement against waste crime and widening the EA’s powers in relation to this.

Latest figures from Defra show a 20 per cent increase in the number of fly tipping incidents dealt with by local authorities, leading to a 24 per cent increase in costs to almost £60 million.

Proposals from Defra include:

- Limiting the chance to appeal decisions to suspend environmental permits

- Increasing EA intervention at poor performing sites

- Improving co-ordination between the EA and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to deal with non-compliance linked to tax

Any new Regulations resulting from the consultation should make it easier for the EA and other regulating authorities to prosecute waste crime offenders by enhancing their existing enforcement powers. The proposals outlined include:

- Suspend site licences where there is risk of harm or pollution or an operator has failed to meet the conditions of an Enforcement Notice

- Issue Notices which require action to prevent the breach of a permit getting worse

- The EA will be given increased powers of intervention at sites which are believed to be at risk of non-compliance due to poor performance

- Regulators will be able to take physical steps to stop waste entering sites that are not complying with their permits

- Waste sites will be charged for the clean-up costs of any illegal waste

The consultation also wants to gather evidence on:

- Fixed penalty notices for fly-tipping

- Operator competence – to include technical competence, operator performance record, relevant convictions, and management systems

- Options to address abandoned or orphaned waste management sites

- Powers to recharge for pollution works

The consultation closes on May 6, 2015, and details can be found by clicking here.