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EXCLUSIVE: Ministers mull new regulations to combat waste crime

The Government is considering introducing new regulations on waste crime this year, possibly ahead of the general election.

MRW exclusive

MRW understands a consultation on the measures is to be published in March.

Industry and Whitehall sources have told MRW that there is a political will for such measures to be pushed through before May poll, although some are sceptical of the feasibility of the move given the limited time window.

A parliamentary source told MRW that Government is considering using a statutory instrument, a type of secondary legislation that allows amendments or additions to existing Acts of Parliament.

MRW was unable confirm the details of the specific elements that will be covered by the regulations but one source said they will be influenced by the findings of a report on waste crime commissioned by the Environmental Services Association Education Trust and published by consultancy Eunomia in March 2014.

The report concluded that every pound spent on enforcement would yield a return of as much as £5.60, of which £3.20 would be received directly by Government in taxes.

Some of the recommendations put forward in the study have already been introduced. For example, as part of the latest budget the Treasury announced it will introduce a testing regime for trommel fines to ensure the correct landfill tax rate is applied.

Fines for perpetrators of waste crimes have also been toughened, as was suggested in the report.

Other proposals included:

  • requiring waste operators to make provision for the legal disposal of waste they receive in case of business failure or fire accidents
  • requiring the Environment Agency to report on how long it takes to investigate and resolve cases
  • overhauling the Duty of Care requirements for producers of waste to ensure the system is “credible and enforceable”

Readers' comments (3)

  • Only a clear future regarding rising landfill tax and consistent enforcement of the raft of well intended regulations will lead to future investment and therefore jobs. Unenforced regulations are killing the waste industry and the ecosystem at the moment, so start there Mr Cameron.

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  • Illegal export of sham green list material is a major problem but the EA is not given sufficient budget to impact the huge volume of containers. Why not pass regulation to require a bank bond from exporters and then charge inspection costs plus a penalty against the bond for any containers found to be non compliant?
    This could be self financing.

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  • The EA do a good job with little resource but it barely scratches the surface. There is huge economic and environmental benefit to be gained by enforcing existing regulations through greater investment in enforcement resource - start there and then follow up with additional legislation.

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