Waste crime costs the UK over £800m every year, according to a new report by the Environmental Services Association Educaion Trust (ESAET), which calls for more funding to tackle “culture of criminality”.
According to the report commissioned by ESAET and conducted by Eunomia, waste crimes such as fly-tipping and deliberate misclassification of waste to evade tax are “widespread and endemic”.
Waste crime not only costs the tax payer up to £808m per year, but also funds organised crime, takes work away from legitimate companies and creates health risks, according to the report.
The Environment Agency (EA) is set to lose 1,700 staff (15 percent) by the end of the year as a result of its budget being cut by nine percent. As a result, work on illegal waste activities is expected to be reduced.
Barry Dennis, ESAET – “We need to stop thinking about ‘waste crime’ as somehow being less important than other crimes. Fly-tipping, rogue waste operations and tax evasion via the misclassification of waste are crimes that create health risks for the public, are costing the taxpayer millions of pounds a year and are funding organised crime”
While the ESAET welcomed last week’s announcement by the Sentencing Council of an increase in fines for fly tipping and dumping waste, it says this will only be effective if Environment Agency budgets are increased so it can pursue criminals.
The report, entitled Waste Crime: Tackling Britain’s Dirty Secret, recommends an additional £25m of funding should be made available to the agency, along with a further £10m for HMRC enforcement activity and other government departments.
Barry Dennis, a trustee of the ESAET charity, said: “We need to stop thinking about ‘waste crime’ as somehow being less important than other crimes. Fly-tipping, rogue waste operations and tax evasion via the misclassification of waste are crimes that create health risks for the public, are costing the taxpayer millions of pounds a year and are funding organised crime.”
Also proposed by the report is educating businesses and landlords of waste sites to avoid becoming victims, forcing waste operators to make provision for the legal disposal of waste they receive in case of business failure or accidents and setting fines for waste crimes that reflect its costs.
Dennis continued: “Seeing waste criminals held to account protects us all from environmental harm and economic disadvantage. The legitimate waste industry is ready to contribute and looks forward to addressing this issue together with government in a spirit of co-operation.”
For the full report CLICK HERE