Resource minister Dan Rogerson has outlined several proposals on how the Environment Agency (EA) plans to get tougher on waste crime.
Rogerson announced in July that the EA was working on a set of proposals to tackle waste crime and would be seeking input from industry stakeholders.
In a letter to the Environmental Services Association, the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, the Resource Association and the Renewable Energy Association, Rogerson spelled out a range of new measures that the EA plans to further develop and implement over the next 12 months.
He said: “Waste crime is a blight on local communities which is why we have secured an additional £5m to tackle it and have worked with industry and the EA to develop a new set of proposals focused on delivering tougher enforcement action, including increased EA intervention at poor performing sites. When most of industry has such a good record, we need to be tough on those who undermine legitimate operators by flouting the law.”
The new proposals are focussed on four themes:
- speedy and tough enforcement action
- greater intelligence sharing
- making the polluter pay
- making better use of regulatory controls.
Specific proposals include:
- increased intervention at poor performing sites so none remain poor performers for more than 18 months
- a review of whether it should be easier to suspend or revoke an environmental permit when significant non-compliance is found
- consideration of a new statutory mechanism to allow the EA to re-charge waste sites for pollution clean-up costs
- greater scrutiny of newly permitted sites within their first year of operation
- a review of the regulation of waste carriers, brokers and dealers with a report on recommendations for improvement
- the aim to publish a plan by April 2015 for fulfilling its duties to carry out inspections of waste activities exempt from environmental permits and how to better regulate these
Rogerson said in the letter: “Those who repeatedly operate to poor standards will be open to increased regulatory inspection to secure compliance and they will increasingly pay for this in their fees and charges to the Environment Agency.
“Better still, we propose action to stop rogue operators from getting environmental permits and other authorisations in the first place.”
The full letter detailing the proposals can be read here.