New clampdown against fly-tippers

The government has unveiled new powers to tackle fly-tipping and plans to combat the dumping of illegal waste.

New powers will be granted for the Environment Agency to tackle waste crime, said Defra on Monday (15 January).

Meanwhile, a consultation will ask for views on proposals to crack-down on the fly-tipping of household waste.

Defra minister Therese Coffey made the announcement following the launch of the government's 25-year plan for the environment.

Waste crime costs the English economy more than £600m in 2015, including lost landfill tax revenues and clean-up costs, said Defra.

    See also: 7% increase in fly-tipping incidents

It creates severe problems for people who encounter it – and undercuts genuine businesses who dispose of waste responsibly.

The Environment Agency will be empowered to lock the gates or block access to problem waste sites to prevent the build-up thousands of tonnes of illegal waste.

Operators will be forced to clear all the waste at a problem waste site – not just the illegal waste.

In addition, proposals in the consultation include raising the bar required to hold Environment Agency waste permits.

    Illegal activities

They also aim to stop criminals hiding illegal activities by requiring them to register low-risk waste operations which are currently exempt from permit requirements.

People will be able to check the agency website to see if the recipient of their waste is licensed to take their waste.

Ms Coffey said: "Waste crime and fly-tipping blight our communities and spoil our countryside, and we need determined action to tackle it.

"These new powers for the Environment Agency will curb the rise of waste sites that continue to operate outside the law.

"But we must all take responsibility for our waste to make sure it does not end up in the hands of criminals who will wilfully dump it."

The agency uncovered more than 850 new illegal waste sites in 2016-17.

    Severe problems

Although two sites are shut down daily, many continue to create severe problems for local communities and business.

Household waste is also a problem and makes up nearly two thirds of fly-tipped waste.

Currently local authorities can only prosecute householders in court.

Defra says a new fixed penalty notice would be less costly to enforce for local authorities, and more proportionate for householders.

The government said it was clear, however, that new fixed penalty notices should not be abused simply as a means of raising money.

Guidance on how the fines should be applied will therefore be issued to councils.

Environment Agency chair Emma Howard Boy said: "This will allow us to take faster action against criminals and will make a real difference to communities, but everyone has a role to play.

"We all need to check our waste is going to the right place and is handled by the right people."


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