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Permit ban for criminals ruled out by Defra

Resource minister Rory Stewart has rejected the establishment of a principle that criminal convictions would prevent individuals or businesses from holding waste disposal licences.

Conservative MP Christopher Chope submitted a written question to Defra urging environment secretary Liz Truss to adopt a policy that “waste disposal licences are not issued by the Environment Agency (EA) to individuals with criminal convictions or to companies controlled by individuals with criminal convictions”.

The query was answered in writing by Stewart and is reported in Hansard.

He said the EA already had powers to refuse an application for an environmental permit if it considered the applicant or another relevant person was ”not competent or unwilling to comply with the conditions of a permit”.

“Where disclosed as part of an application, relevant convictions may be considered by the regulator as part of its assessment of an operator’s competence to hold an environmental permit,” he added, without embracing the idea of mandatory disqualification.

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