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Number of illegal sites increases despite EA target

illegal sites

The Environment Agency (EA) missed its target to reduce the number of active high-risk illegal waste sites in 2017-18, its annual report reveals.

The annual report showed there were 259 such sites – against the EA’s target of 223 – which is six higher than in 2016-17. The EA closed 57 high-risk illegal waste sites in the first three months of this year.

Emma howard boyd

Emma howard boyd

Chair Emma Howard Boyd (left) said: “In March we were given new powers to lock up sites and force rogue operators to clean up all waste. I have publicly called for higher fines for pollution incidents and stronger sentences for a greater deterrent to waste crime.”

The report said it remained a priority to reduce the impact of waste crime and ensure a level playing field for legitimate businesses, but it added that “we have been finding more illegal waste sites than we are able to close down”.

The EA said that, despite missing the target, “we stopped a large number of waste sites from operating” and had 93 successful waste crime prosecutions, resulting in 17 prison sentences and fines totalling more than £380,000.

Some £30m of extra Government funding has been made available for combatting waste crime during the next five years. The EA is working more closely with HM Revenue & Customs on the problem.

Income from waste licences showed a deficit of £1.8m against spending of £29.6m and for hazardous waste a deficit of £1.3m on spending of £16.3m

The EA’s total staff cost was £483.1m against £441.6m in 2016-17, and it had 10,043 full-time equivalent employees at 31 March.

The agency’s overall spending totalled £1.3bn, almost unchanged from last year, of which 65% came from Defra and the remainder from fees and charges.

Howard Boyd was paid £100,000 a year for three days work per week, unchanged from the previous year, the report showed.

The second highest paid board member was Karen Burrows at £29,400 for seven days a month, while deputy chair Richard Macdonald worked five days for his £25,201.

Chief executive Sir James Bevan was the highest paid executive director, in a band of £20,0000-£205,000, up from £185,000-£190,000 last year.

For the other executive directors, Toby Willison (operations) was paid between £160,000-£165,000, Harvey Bradshaw (environment and business) £135,000-£140,000 and John Curtin (flood and coastal erosion risk management) £130,000-£135,000.

Three other executive directors left during the year: David Rooke, Miranda Kavanagh and Jonathan Robinson.

 

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