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EA calls for a united effort to beat waste cheats

The Environment Agency (EA) has called for a united effort to beat the waste cheats who undermine lawful businesses in the UK.

EA chief executive Barbara Young issued the rallying call as she spoke at the recent Environmental Services Associations Parliamentary Conference.

She pointed out the fact that environmental crime is a major issue affecting the whole country with one fly-tipping incident taking place every 35 seconds. The estimated annual cost of this is about £100 million.

As a modern and risk-based regulator we have already worked to streamline and more clearly communicate our approach to business. We reward good performers and aim to get tough on those who dont comply with the law.

However, we can only succeed if we work together with the Government, other enforcement partners including local councils, as well as involving businesses and communities, Young said.

Progress has been made as it was pointed out that around 400 illegally operating waste sites have been shut down this financial year and anti-social behaviour orders are being used to prevent environmental crime.

Young added that the EA is looking at how to deal with problem waste streams involved in environmental crime such as construction and demolition, tyres and green wastes such as paper and plastics.

She added: Increasing waste disposal costs will drive many to look at how they can cut corners to save money. This could draw in more rogue operators as they see opportunities to grow their criminal businesses. We must not allow these waste cheats to undermine the waste strategy and the work of responsible businesses.

We need to work together to ensure waste producers and waste managers achieve compliance with the law and good practice. This needs to be backed up with robust but measured enforcement including higher fines. It provides the safety net to protect the investments made by government and industry and to protect our environment.

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