Resources minister Lord De Mauley’s assertion that a priority for 2013 would be a “crack down on waste crime” is beginning to take shape in the form of two recent consultations covering environmental crime.
The proposed guidance on environmental sentencing is long overdue. For many years, the ESA has been calling for sentences for crimes such as fly-tipping to more truly reflect their seriousness.
Criminals prevent waste from being managed in a controlled way and deliberately put society at risk. The impact of their crimes has serious environmental, economic and social consequences, and undermines legitimate businesses.
It is to be hoped that the new guidance will ensure the courts make full use of their powers and impose sentences for environmental crimes which act as real deterrents.
The ESA also supports the proposed tightening up of the law and the inspection regime surrounding the export of waste that is contained within Defra’s recent consultation on transfrontier shipments.
Where criminals try to export waste illegally, we expect tough enforcement action. One of the reasons we developed the MRF Code of Practice was to help authorities target this sort of illegal activity.
There is also a need to crack down on crime involving hazardous waste, including tackling movements of such waste within the EU which were contrary to the waste hierarchy and the proximity principle.
Sam Corp, Head of regulation, the Environmental Services Association