The Environment Agency (EA) shut down more waste sites in 2012/13 than ever before.
The Waste Crime Report for 2012/13 is due to be published on 14 October and will confirm exact details on the shutting down of illegal waste sites, according to EA head of illegals Matt Crocker.
Speaking at the RWM Exhibition 2013, Crocker said that the EA’s Illegal Waste Site Taskforce had targeted crime with greater focus over the past year.
He said the taskforce enabled officers to prevent crime rather than chasing offenders after incidents had occurred.
Crocker added that the EA’s partnership with crime fighting charity Crimestoppers had also been successful over the last year.
Members of the audience questioned whether figures on stopping illegal waste sites really represented a step forward in tackling such crime. They asked if the figures were simply a result of higher levels of waste crime overall.
Tonnages captured and the scale of each offence were not being recorded, it was claimed, and it was difficult to gathering statistics on illegal waste sites cast doubt on the figures as well, due to the number of covert sites and lack of transparency on the problem.
In response, Andy Higham, EA’s head of the National Crime Team, said: “Shutting down sites won’t always result in prosecution, because actually some of these sites move into compliance.”
Crocker called for members of the waste sector to report to the EA if they are being undercut by illegal operations, are being overcharged or if they see waste lorries going to suspicious sites.
- In June the EA said that there are over 800 illegal waste sites operating throughout England and Wales, causing bad smells, chemical spills, damaging the landscape and affecting the surrounding communities.