The Environment Agency has shutdown or brought into regulation almost 50 per cent of illegal car scrap yards across 12 months up to April this year.
Due to the EAs crackdown on almost 185 of the 370 known sites in England and Wales it believes legitimate firms dealing with scrap cars and other metal waste may benefit by up to £30 million, as illegal trade is shutdown. However, it has estimated that illegal waste businesses worth £17 million are still at large, illegally handling a possible 350,000 cubic metres of waste.
EAs ELV project manager Phil Gibbon said: Illegal scrapyards are a huge problem for the environment. Were tackling it through a combination of penalties, partnerships and awareness-raising among legal businesses.
Wed much rather encourage business to act responsibly which were doing by providing them with support and advice. But where we need to get tough, we will prosecute operators who dont hold permits or comply with permit conditions. The courts can impose prison sentences, fines and anti-social behaviour orders, community service, curfews and seize assets gained through the proceeds of crime.
As part of the Waste Crime Innovation Programme, the EA has been working with local authorities, the car recycling industry and trade associations. It will continue to target illegal sites and encourage legal businesses to report rogue operators.
A spokesperson for Manchester-based Auhtorised Treatment Facility S. Norton & Co. said: Weve noticed a big difference in our business since several local illegal operators were closed down. Its good news for us but also for the environment. The impact on both land and water when vehicles are dumped has now reduced.