Proposals to introduce a bond system for waste companies to cover clean-up costs will be included in a consultation on waste crime, the resource minister has said.
In a parliamentary debate, Dan Rogerson said that Defra will seek views on a series of measures, such as a requirement for greater financial provision from operators of waste management sites through bonds, insurance or other mechanisms.
“One concern has been that if we tackle an operator which then goes out of business and into administration, we are left with the clean-up costs,” he said. “If there is some sort of financial arrangement providing a guarantee, the money can be used to remediate any problems.”
He also noted that this would reduce the opportunity for rogue operators to obtain permits.
Rogerson added that Defra will also put forward measures to strengthen the Environment Agency’s enforcement powers, including ensuring that the agency can physically prevent waste from coming on to sites that are in breach of their permits.
Respondents will also be able to submit views on the issue of insurance companies pulling out of the waste market. The parliamentary debate was secured by Barbara Keeley, Labour MP for Worsley and Eccles South, who raised concerns about Eccles-based White Recycling. The firm went into liquidation in January after its permit was suspended.
Keeley said residents had experienced problems related to dust, flies, odour and vermin coming from the site and that the EA’s response has been slow.
Rogerson said: “The EA sometimes faces a difficult challenge of striking the right balance between encouraging businesses to comply and supporting growth while coming down firmly on those who flout the law or cause harm to local communities and the environment.”