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Checks on export containers soars

Checks on waste containers destined for export have increased by over 400% year-on-year, data from the Environment Agency has indicated.

The agency said it inspected 876 shipping containers in the 12 months to July 2014 as a result of intelligence operations.

Of those checked, 242 were returned to waste sites for reprocessing or detained as part of criminal investigations, a rate of 27%.

Inspections were up on 2012-13 when, according to the EA’s Waste Crime Report in October 2013, the agency checked 167 loads.

Of the containers inspected that year, 68 were used as evidence for prosecutions and 65 were sent back to waste sites - a rate of 80%.

The EA has recently launched an awareness campaign on the requirement of the Transfrontier Shipment regulations.

From October, it will start issuing fixed penalties notices for certain kind of paperwork offences, for example failure to fill Annex VII forms in full.

Readers' comments (2)

  • The problem is that the assessment as to whether a load is acceptable or not is too subjective. One EA officer may think its OK but then another doesn't and the container is returned. For example if a bale of plastic has one aluminium can in it, does that make it mixed waste? If a bale of cardboard has one plastic bag in it, is it mixed waste? If the answer to the above is yes then every shipment of material should be turned back and the recycling industry will grind to a halt.....

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  • Increased activity by EA against illegal exports at one or two container ports is to be commended. However, these inspections are the result of intellegence received, not random, and still only represent a tiny proportion of the UK's outward traffic in containers. 876 inspections out of 12m (20' equivalent) container movements pa is hardly newsworthy.

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