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Masthead Local Govt - Regulatory

Government launches call for evidence on tackling organised waste crime

The Government has launched a call for evidence on how to crack down further on organised waste crime, with the review looking amongst other things at how the Environment Agency, other organisations, and the law enforcement system can work together to tackle the threat.

The review, which will be chaired by Defra non-executive director Lizzie Noel, will also:

  • 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; and
  • Make recommendations for a strategic approach to serious and organised waste crime.

The Government said the activities of organised crime groups in relation to waste cost the English economy more than £600m in 2015. More than 850 new illegal waste sites were discovered by the Environment Agency in 2016-17 alone.

More information on the call for evidence can be found here.

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.”

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 said it had recently given councils powers to hand out on-the-spot fines to fly-tippers, and made it easier for vehicles suspected of being used for fly-tipping to be stopped, searched and seized.

Later this year it plans to introduce new fixed penalty notices for householders who pass their waste to a fly-tipper, subject to Parliamentary approval.

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