The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) has launched a multi-agency clampdown on illegal cross-border waste haulage and disposal.
Its £3.8m Life Smart project, co-funded by the EU, works with the police and the other three UK environmental agencies to use road stops, site visits and awareness raising to tell hauliers their responsibilities concerning waste disposal.
Sepa said waste crime costs the UK economy around £600m a year, and was known to include illegal transport and dumping of waste in Scotland by hauliers from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Kath McDowall, crime investigations team unit manager, said: “Several companies are known to be involved and many of these are under investigation by Sepa’s waste crime investigation team for criminal offences.
“There are also indications of serious and organised crime group involvement in the transport, sale and disposal of illegal waste – so it is vital that we work with partners across the UK to tackle this issue.”
The initiative is also supported by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, Office of the Traffic Commissioner for Scotland, HM Revenue & Customs, the Freight Transport Association, other freight industry bodies, the National Farmers Union and insurers.
Road stops have so far been held to root out metal theft on vehicles from ferries coming over from Northern Ireland.
Detective Inspector Arlene Wilson of the British Transport Police (BTP) said: ”Criminals often believe they can escape the law by crossing the border into another jurisdiction. But with multi-agency partners working together and sharing intelligence across the UK, this just isn’t the case.
”Working with Sepa and its partners, the BTP is determined to tackle this problem.”