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Joined-up thinking on illegal exports

Mark Nevitt

Ports along our English coastline are a hive of activity but we know not all of that activity should be happening.

An alarming amount of waste gets exported overseas to countries that do not want it or cannot deal with it safely. As the environmental regulator for England, the EA’s role is to check and stop illegal exports.

Recently we prevented the export of 110 containers of household waste, wrongly described as ‘waste paper’, headed to India from a site in the Midlands. Engagement with industry has been key to targeting and stopping almost 4,000 tonnes of illegal waste in the last quarter alone.

One type of waste often destined for illegal export is old tyres. In 2017, 3,000 more containers of waste tyres than were allowed left our shores. Our team identified firms exceeding their exemptions as well as becoming illegal waste sites.

But by engaging with industry, the number of containers was reduced and brought back in line with exemptions to ensure this does not happen again.

Mark Nevitt is Environment Agency team leader, exports and intelligence

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