UK - Government launches waste crime crackdown


Firms that fail to check whether their waste operator is properly licensed and disposing of materials legally, could face fines of up to £10,000 under new UK government proposals.

Defra has launched a consultation on a package of measures designed to introduce tougher penalties for waste-related crime and crackdown on illegal dumping.

Under the proposals, the maximum fine for duty of care and waste carrier offences would be doubled - meaning that those firms that fail to check if their waste operators are correctly licensed, would be running the risk of a £10,000 fine. The UK government also proposed a new awareness campaign designed to make it easier for businesses to comply with the new rules.

Waste operators, meanwhile, would be subject to tougher rules - including changes that would make it an offence to provide false information when applying for Environment Agency approval and the introduction of new powers that would allow local authorities and the Environment Agency to stop, search and instantly seize vehicles suspected of being involved in waste offences.

UK Environment Minister Joan Ruddock urged people to respond to the consultation, arguing that illegal waste dumping represented a major problem. "There are a large number of rogue operators claiming to dispose of waste responsibly, but then dumping it in a public area" - she said. "It is estimated to cost more than £100m every year to investigate and clear up illegally dumped waste - a cost that falls to taxpayers and private landowners."

The move comes in the same week as the UK's Environment Agency urged firms to check the credentials of their waste operators after two men were jailed for operating an illegal dumping operation in London and Essex that saw 14,600 tonnes of commercial waste dumped at 15 different sites.