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Criminal investigation at illegal waste dump

Resources minister Therese Coffey has said the owners of a West Midlands site who illegally piled up 2,000 tonnes of waste could face prosecution.

The revelation was made in the House of Commons as Coffey responded to concerns by local MP Ian Austin that a clear-up at the Rowanoak Waste Services site in Shaw Road, Dudley, had stopped.

The Environment Agency (EA) shut down the site in March 2016 and undertook “strong enforcement action” after the owners failed to clear the waste.

The landowner started clearing the site in June this year, but Austin said only a “tiny amount” had been shifted and work had already stopped.

Austin said: “Local businesses and I are fed up with the time it is taking to sort this out.

“It’s been dragging on for far too long. I want [environment secretary] Michael Gove to get the EA to get a grip and sort it out much more quickly.”

In a written answer to Parliament, Coffey said: “We have advised West Midlands Police that we are undertaking a criminal investigation into the company.

“We have separately met with West Midlands Fire Service to ensure that fire risk has been appropriately assessed, and a suitable incident response plan has been produced for this site.”

An EA spokesperson said: “Although the landowner partially cleared the site in June, we have since continued to apply pressure for more waste to be removed and are working with a range of regulatory partners – Dudley Metropolitan Council, West Midlands Police, West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service and HMRC – to ensure we are collectively using every power, including court action, to clear this site.”

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