A Government fight against waste criminals is picking up momentum with people being urged to have their say on ways to crack-down on organised crime groups.
Hoping to ‘beef up’ its current approach, Secretary of State Michael Gove reiterated his promise with a three-month call for evidence to pull together ideas on how to impose better powers among the Environment Agency (EA) and local police forces in England.
It marks the next steps by Defra to tackle the scourge of waste crimes including fly-tipping, operating illegal waste sites and exporting waste illegally.
Mr Gove said: “Organised criminals running illegal waste dumps and fly-tipping are blighting local communities.
“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; environmental, community and economic impacts and how the EA and the law enforcement system can work together through a more ‘strategic approach’.
It builds on a range of new measures from the Government including new powers for the EA to lock the gates to problem waste sites, powers to force operators to clear all waste at problem sites, and extending landfill tax to include material disposed of at illegal waste sites.
CLA president Tim Breitmeyer said a joint approach was vital to implement tougher penalties which ’better reflect the seriousness of the crime’.
“It is easy to blame householders for the significant rise in fly-tipping but we are seeing more and more waste on an industrial scale dumped across the countryside,” he said.
“Part of the problem is council fees putting people off lawful disposal at the local tip but it is also businesses not complying with existing waste disposal regulations.
“The costs and process of getting a waste transfer licence prevents legal disposal and encourages organised crime.”
A Farmers Guardian twitter poll revealed 98 per cent of farmers agreed police powers were not strong enough to deal with fly-tipped and crime waste on agricultural land.
EA chief executive James Bevan said last year the agency closed down two illegal waste sites a day and was granted new powers to ‘complement our existing enforcement efforts’.