Two trade associations have expressed disappointment over Defra’s proposed actions on waste crime, announced this week.
The actions come after Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) consulted on a possible of range measures earlier this week to which it received a large number of responses.
The trade association for the vehicle recycling industry, the Vehicle Recyclers’ Association (VRA) today expressed ‘deep disappointment’ in Defra’s response.
Commenting on the plans (see letsrecycle.com story), Chas Ambrose, chief exective of the VRA said: “We are deeply disappointed that government has, once again, avoided taking decisive and visible action against a sizeable tranche of illegal waste operators, while at the same time increasing the pressure on the same permit holders to ‘dot the i’s & cross the T’s.”
Mr Ambrose was referring to the Defra’s stance on exemption requirements – which was to confirm no precise technical changes. Instead, the Department said this was a measure it was “continuing to consider”.
In his statement, the chief executive referenced evidence provided by VRA to the Environment Agency that at least 50% of U16 exemptions were being used to cover for illegal vehicle dismantling.
He continued: “In the last three years VRA has reported to the EA more than 1,400 cases of suspected illegal dismantlers (almost 200 in the last month alone), but the response has been completely inadequate.
“By the end of 2018 we expect to have reported more suspected illegal vehicle dismantlers than there are permitted ELV ATFs in the UK, and we believe there are probably twice that number of illegals. These illegals divert an estimated £300 million per year away from legitimate ELV ATFs.”
And Mr Ambrose has criticised the Environment Agency. “We are of the opinion that waste regulation in the UK (including the exemptions and waste carrier regimes) is hopelessly inadequate and out of control, and the EA is simply not up to the job,” he said.
VRA has expressed its support for the Environmental Services Association’s statement on the matter, which suggested that the Government has not gone far enough to deter the ‘real’ criminals (see letsrecycle.com story). And, Mr Ambrose said VRA has repeatedly called for a “fundamental overhaul” of the carrier/broker/dealer regime.
“We are not optimistic that government has the appetite or ability to ‘grasp the nettle’,” he added.
Despite welcoming the publication, the British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) also noted its disappointment that “key objectives” of the consultation “will not be addressed or have now been postponed”.
BMRA said it is concerned there is “no appetite” to carry out a review of the waste carrier, broker or dealer licensing system.
“While it is heartening that Defra states it remains committed to reforming the exemption system, delaying a decision, let alone implementing any changes, allows otherwise illegal operators to obtain an exemption to appear to be part of the regulated community whilst very often flouting all other environmental controls,” BMRA said. “Until reforms are enacted, these operators will continue unchecked thereby creating an uneven playing field for legitimate operators.”
And, on fixed penalty notices, BMRA remarked, there needs to be “great clarity” of how a person can ‘appear’ to have failed to comply with their duty of care.