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Waste crime to rocket, says CIWM

Following the BBC expose Dumping On Britain , the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) has warned that the problem of illegal waste dumping will get worse.

The programme, which aired May 4 on BBC One, featured large-scale fly-tipping rackets including a golf course used as an illegal dump for construction waste (see MRW story).

The CIWM has warned that increased restrictions on hazardous waste due in July and the constantly falling number of landfill sites will mean an increase in illegal activities over the coming months.

CIWM chief executive Steve Lee said: "We must have a properly funded, strong regulator to enforce the legislation so that we can cut cheats and criminals out of the system.

"It is encouraging that local authorities have tougher powers under the new Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act, but they and the Environment Agency (EA) need proper resources to do the job."

The feeling that the EA lacks the means to do its job properly was highlighted recently by vehicle recyclers in Cornwall and Devon.

Frustrated by the EA's failure to prosecute cowboy scrap dealers, they have threatened to withhold payment on their waste management license fees - money used to fund the EA.

Lee also suggested that the Government tighten up the controls on who can carry waste, as at the present time it was "relatively easy to become a registered waste carrier".

He added: "Once cases go to court it is essential that penalties are sufficiently severe to be a proper deterrent and to outweigh the high profits that criminals are making."

Environment Minister Elliot Morley has acknowledged that fines handed out by magistrates for waste offences are too low.

He said that the Government would look at the retraining of magistrates on environmental issues or an environmental magistrates board as possible ways of making fines big enough to be a deterrent.

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