The Environment Agency (EA) needs more resources to combat waste crime, FCC Environment has said.
Responding to a joint Derfa and Welsh Government consultation on extending the powers of regulators to crack down on irresponsible operators of facilities, the company said regulatory enforcement was understaffed and the EA was inadequately funded.
FCC communications director Kristen Dales said the landfill tax escalator had led to an increase in waste crime, from small-scale fly tipping to criminal gangs offering cheap disposal options on a huge scale.
“At the moment, waste makes business sense for the organised crime gangs. A complete review might be a daunting prospect for officials to consider, but a piecemeal approach will do little more than paper over some of the cracks.
“The tax revenue generated by high landfill taxes should be directly invested into more resources to catch illegal waste operators,” he added.
“We are witness to the economic drivers of waste management, the impact of waste crime and the impact of policy.”
Dales also said the UK was suffering from poor quality waste exports due to a lack of spot checks and weak permitting regimes.
He believes the police and the EA need work closely to tackle large criminal gangs with hefty fines and penalties.
“We’re hopeful of a wider review of how the UK deals with waste crime to secure more funding for the EA,” Dales concluded.
“We believe it is not more powers the EA needs, it is more manpower.”
The comments follow observations on the consultation from Viridor, which called on the government to step up efforts on waste crime, set up a National Resources Council and move the waste sector towards a regulated utility model.