In the last year, criminals who illegally dump thousands of tonnes of baled waste have cost land and property owners in the North East an estimated £750,000, the Environment Agency has claimed.
The Environment Agency is reaching out to property and land owners, commercial property agents, trade associations and local authorities. Its aim is to warn of the ‘dangers’ posed by waste criminals and advise how they can better protect themselves.
Jamie Fletcher, area environment manager, from the Environment Agency said: “Waste criminals operate throughout the country, offering to remove waste cheaply and then dumping it in fields or empty warehouses. They tend to move to new areas as enforcement agencies become wise to their activities.
“We know it’s only a matter of time before they target us again so we’re sending out a strong message: Waste criminals are not welcome here and we’re doing everything in our power to deter and catch them.
“We work closely with partners to share intelligence on illegal waste activity. And we’re encouraging everyone to do their bit: for property and land owners to be vigilant and better protect themselves and for all businesses, organisations and individuals to manage their waste responsibly, preventing it from getting into criminal hands in the first place.”
The Agency has advised land and property owners to check any empty land and property regularly and make sure it is secure; and, to be vigilant and report any unusual behaviour. It also advises that they carry out rigorous checks on prospective and new tenants.
“Land and property owners have a responsibility to ensure anyone leasing their land/property complies with regulations,” the Agency said. “They may be committing an offence by allowing waste to be stored on land or property without the relevant permissions and could leave them liable to prosecution.”
“We know it’s only a matter of time before they target us again so we’re sending out a strong message: Waste criminals are not welcome here and we’re doing everything in our power to deter and catch them.”
The Environment Agency
Advice for businesses has also been published. The Agency explained there are “around 4,000 commercial properties across the North East thought to be empty, which are owned by up to 1,500 businesses and organisations, including fund management companies and local authorities.”
The Environment Agency is advising businesses and organisations of their responsibility to ensure their waste is managed appropriately. Anyone who produces, stores and manages waste is obligated to ensure waste does not cause harm to human health or pollution to the environment under waste under Duty of Care legislation, the Agency warns.
According to the Agency, waste crime diverts as much as £1 billion per annum from legitimate business and the treasury.