The Environmental Services Association (ESA) has welcomed commitment from the Government on tackling waste crime but says its recent consultation should have gone further.
ESA head of regulation Sam Corp said the problem of waste crime was getting worse rather than better, as its report Rethinking Waste Crime last year had indicated.
He added: “The proposals to raise the standard of operator competence at permitted sites by strengthening the regulators’ assessment and enforcement abilities are helpful. We hope they will help to discourage operators who do not have the resources, the experience or the intention to operate within the law.
”Similarly, tightening up financial checks at the front end should also help to prevent operators who are unable to demonstrate adequate financial standing from receiving a permit in the first place.
”However, while we welcome this additional scrutiny, we think that extending the financial provision requirement to additional facilities should be dependent upon a revised risk profiling of the sector to avoid tying up capital and potentially constraining investment within the legitimate industry.
“The consultation highlights EA research showing that 30% of ‘exemptions’ visited were found to be illegal: a damning statistic clearly highlighting the need for change, which the ESA has long called for. We therefore welcome additional scrutiny on exemptions advocated in the consultation.
“Proposals to introduce fixed penalty notices to householders who breach their duty of care will no doubt help to help raise awareness of this important responsibility. However, what is missing in this consultation are proposals to overhaul and tighten the carriers, brokers and dealers regime, which ESA called for in Rethinking Waste Crime.
”Without this, we have concerns about the effectiveness of the fixed penalty notices to deter the real criminals. The requirements for becoming a registered waste carrier, broker or dealer are, quite simply, too lax.
”So, while contracting with a registered carrier or broker ought to provide some comfort to householders that their waste is being managed responsibly, all it actually provides is a veneer of legitimacy which is often relied upon completely to fulfil waste producers’ Duty of Care requirements.”
A tweet from former CIWM chief executive Steve Lee indicated concern at an inadequate depth to the proposals:
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