The number of illegal waste sites being shut down has dramatically increased in the last year, a new report from the Environment Agency (EA) has revealed, showing that it shuts down 25 illegal waste sites every week.
The Environment Agency reported that it stopped 1,279 illegal waste sites last year – the equivalent of 25 sites every week – in its second annual waste crime report, published today (14 Oct).
The number of sites stopped increased by 70 percent on 2011/12 figures, attributed to the Environment Agency’s crackdown on illegal sites, which saw an Illegal Waste Sites Taskforce set up for two years.
Ed Mitchell, Environment Agency – “We are taking tough action to deal with this problem, through the improved use of intelligence and stronger partnerships with the police and other enforcement bodies”
Legitimate waste businesses report that these illegal sites, which can offer waste collection, treatment and disposal at cheaper prices than their competitors, but have no intention of disposing of this waste safely, are undercutting them.
It is estimated that waste crime diverts as much as £1bn every year from legitimate businesses and HM Treasury.
Some of the major crimes stopped this year include illegal exports, serious dumping incidents and illegal waste sites where waste is burnt or and buried with no environmental safeguards in place.
Illegal waste sites can cause misery for local communities with infestations of flies, acrid smoke and ugly piles of waste affecting homes and quality of life. They can also lead to serious pollution incidents.
Ed Mitchell, director of environment and business at the Environment Agency, said: “Waste crime puts people and the environment at risk, and undermines the legitimate waste industry. We are taking tough action to deal with this problem, through the improved use of intelligence and stronger partnerships with the police and other enforcement bodies. The two year Illegal Waste Sites Taskforce has been hugely successful in slashing the number of illegal waste sites operating in England.”
The report also shows that most illegal waste sites are now shut down within 12 months, but there is still more to be done, according to the Agency.
The report also reveals that:
- the majority of illegal waste sites are still clustered around towns, cities and key motorway links
- construction and demolition waste continues to be a problem – with construction waste present at over 25 percent of illegal waste sites and 23 percent of large scale illegal waste dumping incidents
- scrap cars are found at a quarter of all illegal waste sites, and there were a significant number of serious waste dumps involving chemical drums, oil or fuel.
- the courts confiscated over £1.3m last year from waste criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
For the full report CLICK HERE