New powers for the Environment Agency (EA), Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and local authorities to tackle illegal activity in the waste sector have passed into law.
MPs at Westminster and Welsh Assembly members separately approved the Waste Enforcement (England and Wales) Regulations 2018 on 6 March.
The regulatory agencies will now be able to act more quickly over problematic waste sites, for example, by locking gates to reduce a pollution risk.
To cut the impact of abandoned waste, NRW, EA and local authorities will also have wider powers to require occupiers and landowners to remove waste unlawfully present on a site, regardless of whether they were originally deposited lawfully under a permit or exemption.
Welsh environment minister Hannah Blythyn said: “These new powers to take action against illegal waste operators will create a level playing field and help to ensure that operators who comply with the rules do not lose out to those who undermine and undercut the law-abiding majority.”
Ceri Davies, NRW’s executive director for evidence, policy and permitting, said: “Unscrupulous operators pose a threat to the environment, the health and wellbeing of the communities in which they operate and undermine the Welsh economy.
”Thanks to the new regulations, we will be able to deal with them more effectively and reduce the impact of their illegal activity.”