In a statement yesterday (27 November), the Agency outlined that those working in the industry “often have the expertise to recognise when something isn’t right or they may know the offenders themselves”.
The EA said it’s essential to report any potential incidents to help it “carry out enforcement effectively”.
Emma Viner, enforcement & investigations manager at the Environment Agency, said: “Waste criminals’ toxic actions put us all in danger every time they break the law, which is why we need the help of everyone in the waste sector to drive them out of business.
“Just a quarter of waste crimes are reported to the Environment Agency, making it more difficult to know when and where we need to act. So, if you know or suspect illegal waste activity is taking place, you should tell us and we can continue our work to stop rogue operators and organised criminals in their tracks and force them to face justice.”
The Agency statement reiterated that waste crime costs the economy in England an estimated £1 billion per year, “the combined starting salary of over 38,000 newly-qualified nurses”.
It highlighted that in the year to September, it has:
- Closed 518 illegal waste sites
- Brought 32 prosecutions against waste criminals
- Imposed fines and costs of over £580,000
The EA added that it has “taken the fight to criminals” with coordinated operations – such as Operation Lyceum, Operation Iris and Operation Angola) – collaborating with the police, HMRC and others to monitor dubious waste sites, stop and check lorries, and seize stolen or hazardous cargoes.
The Environment Agency will also launch a new team in the early 2024 dedicated to tackling money laundering in the waste industry.