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Tougher regime for poor waste operators set out by Defra

Defra has launched a consultation on extending the powers of regulators to crack down on irresponsible operators of facilities that operate under an environmental permit in England and Wales.

The department, on behalf of both governments, says it is “minded” to introduce some form of up-front financial provision from waste operators, such as bonds or bank guarantees, to cover the costs of any remedial work.

It is also investigating whether fixed penalties can tackle waste crime such as fly-tipping.

The consultation, which closes the day before the General Election, suggests changes to allow regulators to:

  • suspend and revoke permits
  • issue notices to prevent breaches from worsening
  • stop waste coming on to sites
  • remove a risk of serious pollution at a facility
  • require the removal of waste from land

It also suggests the removal of pre-conditions for regulators to bring High Court proceedings.

Other proposals, including bonds, fixed penalties and other anti-waste crime measures, are included as part of a call for evidence.

Resource minister Dan Rogerson said that tackling waste crime was a priority for the Government and its regulators.

“This consultation follows the publication of a joint Defra and Environment Agency Waste Crime Action Plan, as well as an additional £5m investment to tackle waste crime, new sentencing guidelines for the courts and proposals to seize vehicles involved in fly-tipping,” he said.

“I am determined that we see those responsible properly held to account for the damage they inflict on local communities.”

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