Waste crime has a negative impact on our communities and the environment. From blatant examples like roadside fly-tipping trash to environmental permit violations and money laundering, these activities can put people’s safety at risk and undermine legitimate waste businesses.
On top of that, waste crime costs the UK economy an estimated £1 billion a year. This is the same as the combined starting salary of over 38,000 newly qualified nurses.
As the UK’s environmental regulator, the Environment Agency is on the front line of the fight against fraudulent businesses and organized crime.
We are determined to stop this problem and have been working with the police and other government agencies. During the year ending September 2023, we will:
- 518 illegal waste sites shut down
- 32 indictments against waste criminals
- Fines and costs imposed exceed £580,000
This year, we fought criminals in coordinated operations such as Operation Lyceum, Operation Iris, and Operation Angola. We worked with the police, HMRC and other organizations to monitor suspicious waste, stop and inspect trucks and seize stolen or dangerous cargo. .
This move is underpinned by government policy changes that give regulators and local authorities more power over these criminals. Councils can now impose higher fines for littering and fly-throwing. He was awarded a £775,000 grant to the council to trial a new approach to waste crime. And the government is working to reform the system of transporters, intermediaries and distributors to improve the regulation and enforcement of operators in the waste industry. The Environment Agency will also launch a new team in early 2024 dedicated to tackling money laundering in the waste industry.
Those who pollute the environment (including waste offenders) will also be exposed to unlimited penalties under the new law. The current cap of £250,000 on variable fines that the Environment Agency can impose directly on businesses will be removed, giving the regulator a faster means of enforcement than slow and expensive criminal prosecutions, but with the most Serious cases will continue to be subject to criminal prosecution. minutes.
But we need your help. Only 25% of waste crime incidents are reported to the Environment Agency – And without these reports, it becomes difficult to identify where crimes are being committed and where action needs to be taken.
Many people working in this industry have the expertise to recognize when something is not right, or may know the offenders themselves. Reporting potential incidents is essential for effective enforcement.
Emma Vinner, Enforcement and Investigations Manager at the Environment Agency, said:
The harmful actions of waste criminals put us all at risk every time they break the law. That’s why we need everyone in the waste sector to work together to put waste criminals out of business.
Only a quarter of waste crimes are reported to the Environment Agency, making it even more difficult to determine when and where action needs to be taken. Therefore, if you know or suspect that illegal waste activities are taking place, please let us know. That way we can continue our efforts to stop fraudulent operators and organized criminals where they are and force them to justice.
This will not be an easy battle – but the Environment Agency, with the support of partners across the waste industry, will stay one step ahead of criminals, keep them out of the system and move towards a crime-free economy. We are determined to move forward. Space for waste crime.
If you know of or suspect illegal waste activity is taking place, please report it anonymously to Crimestoppers through our dedicated website or by calling 0800 555 111. Our 24-hour incident hotline is also available on 0800 80 70 60.
If you work in the waste management industry, make sure you have the appropriate permits: Waste: Environmental Permits – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)