One of the leading officials in the fight against crime at the Environment Agency (EA) is leaving at the end of the month as part of cost-cutting measures.
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Senior figures opting for the ’voluntary exit’ scheme include Mat Crocker, deputy director of illegals and waste, and senior adviser Alan Holmes.
Crocker reflected on his 27 years at the agency – and five years in his current post – in a speech in the Local Authority Theatre at RWM.
He said he was leaving “a brilliant job” and an agency that was now better organised to tackle waste crime and regulate the waste industry.
In a wide-ranging address he:
- Called it a “formidable stunt” to achieve an extra £33m to fight crime in a time of austerity, and he praised the ESA, CIWM and the industry for lobbying for the cash
- Said the EA had had “some success” in tracking the flow of materials into poor-performing sites and addressing the supply chain of that material
- Praised the industry for standing with the regulator in setting up the ’Right Waste, Right Place’ campaign
- Forecast an increase in the severity of sentences for waste crime, maintaining a recent trend
An EA spokesperson said: “All redundancy compensation and exit payments are determined transparently and in accordance with clear public sector guidelines, and are only allowed if they generate savings.”
Part of the Crocker farewell
”We are not going to win the fight against waste crime by simply shutting down waste sites. We need to cut off the supply. Over my tenure: there have been 31 prison sentences and more than £4m in fines. What is it going to look like for the individual that has the privilege of doing the job that I’ve currently got? I confidently predict the number of prison sentences will go up because if the sentencing guidelines. We will see far more punitive sentences. The amount of fines will go up.
”It’s an easy prediction to say that waste crime will not stay the same. We’ve seen a rise of various crimes over the years – producer responsibility fraud, mis-description. An area which will be absolutely vital will be the evaluation of: does it make a difference? To the work the regulator does, that you do as the industry or the local authority does. Trying to get the right waste in the right place. With that data and information, we can actually make a difference to waste crime.
”What will I leave? I leave a job that has been brilliant. I leave an organisation that I genuinely believe is a better organisation now for dealing with this problem than it was a few years ago, certainly than when I was out there doing the job. The opportunity comes around duty of care and making sure everyone else is making sure the right waste ends up in the right place. Thereby waste crime is no longer a problem.”