Environment Agency (EA) chair Emma Howard Boyd has called for longer prison sentences and heavier fines for waste criminals.
She told the Manchester Green Summit she had inspected illegal sites and “packaging from even the most responsible businesses ends up there”.
Howard Boyd (pictured) said: “I still don’t think the deterrent is strong enough. Today, I am calling for higher fines and custodial sentences for waste criminals.
“How we deal with the rising tide of waste is a global challenge, but no one should have to live next door to this disgusting criminality.”
Good waste businesses were too often undermined by unscrupulous ones, she said, pointing to an Environment Services Association report which found the economic impact of waste crime in in England in 2015 totalled at least £604m.
She added that waste crime brought “incalculable misery and ill health to people all over the country”.
The EA’s new powers to lock gates and block access to problem waste sites were being used at the rate of two sites a day, she added.
Courts started to impose higher fines for environmental offences after sentencing guidelines were revised in 2014, Howard Boyd noted.
The Manchester Green Summit was organised by Andy Burnham, elelcted mayor of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. He invited environmental experts, interest groups, partner agencies, academics and local residents to help develop ideas to make Greater Manchester one of Europe’s greenest cities.