Senior regulators across the British Isles have met to discuss how they can support each other to increase the use of secondary materials and tackle criminals.
The meeting involved the chief executives from each of the five agencies: the Environment Agency (EA), Natural Resources Wales (NRW), the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa).
The agencies already work as partners on regulatory issues such as Duty of Care and cross-border transport of waste.
Topics discussed at the summit included intelligence sharing, waste tracking and improving the quality of recyclate. Participants looked at ways to strengthen and support each agency to drive increased resource use and target non-compliant waste operations across the UK and Republic of Ireland.
It was hosted by Sepa and chaired by its chief executive Terry A’Hearn, who said: “Co-operation is the key to tackling the biggest challenges facing our environment. While each of our agencies already work very closely across a wide spectrum of regulation, today’s meeting strengthens our approach and cements our commitment to creating a truly circular economy.
“The most successful businesses in the future will be those … seeing environmental excellence as an opportunity, not a problem.
“If, on the other hand, you have no interest in being careful with our finite resources, or no care for the environment in the way you dispose of waste, you will find our resolve is strong. We will use our regulatory powers to make it tough for those with a poor attitude and poor performance.”
Sir James Bevan, EA chief executive, said: “Waste crime poses big threats to the economy, the environment and communities. The best way to fight the waste criminals is to do it together.
”I welcome the agreement by the heads of the five environmental protection agencies in the UK and Ireland to step up our collaboration. Together we will ensure the waste criminals have no place to hide.”