The report includes details of the waste industry’s environmental performance, pollution incidents and illegal waste.
It suggests that while the EA seems to be more efficient in closing down illegal waste sites, a 1000 new illegal sites are being discovered year on year.
ESA – “We are particularly encouraged that the EA seems to be closing illegal sites down more quickly than previously, which can only help to minimise the misery caused by such sites to local communities and the financial impact on legitimate operators.”
The EA chief executive, Sir James Bevan, revealed that he believes waste crime is the “new narcotics”, and that 662 illegal waste sites were still active as of the end of March this year.
The EA report also shows permitted waste sites recovered 65% of their waste in 2015, compared to 39% in 2000, and 64% in 2014.
Quality protocols have diverted over 61m tonnes of material from landfill and have saved businesses around £466m, the EA says.
Methane emissions to air from the landfill sector have decreased by 61% since 2002.
91% of the methane collected and combusted in engines and flares at landfills was combusted in engines to generate electricity.
Total fines arising from the prosecution of companies involved in waste activities increased by 85% compared to 2014.
Between 2014 and 2015 the number of:
- permitted waste facilities increased by 2%
- serious pollution incidents caused by permitted waste sites decreased by 36%
- poor performing permitted waste sites has fallen by 20%
- persistently poor performing waste sites has fallen by 6%
- sites of high public interest decreased by 53%
In 2015 to 2016, THE EA:
- found over 1,000 new illegal waste sites
- stopped nearly 1,000 illegal waste sites, more than in the previous 2 years
- stopped more than 50% of new illegal waste sites within 90 days; more than ever before
- inspected 1,388 containers prior to export, compared with 167 in 2012 to 2013
ESA’s Head of Regulation, Sam Corp, said: “ESA is pleased that increased Government funding has enabled the Environment Agency to focus more efforts on tackling waste crime and that this is starting to show a return on investment, with 1000 sites closed in 2015.
“We are particularly encouraged that the EA seems to be closing illegal sites down more quickly than previously, which can only help to minimise the misery caused by such sites to local communities and the financial impact on legitimate operators.”
He added: “However, the fact that nearly 1000 new illegal sites are being found year on year shows the sheer scale of the problem and it is clear that now is not the time to take the foot off the gas. Tackling waste crime must remain a priority for Government and regulators as it does for ESA and its members.
“We are also encouraged to see that the overall environmental performance of the regulated business in the waste sector has improved in 2015 and of course we will continue to work with the Environment Agency to look at ways to continue this improvement.”