Monday, December 10, 2018

New powers to curb fly-tipping ‘not enough’

February 1, 2018 by  
Filed under News & Business

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

Lock gates

Waste crime cost the English economy more than £600m in 2015, including lost landfill tax revenues and clean-up bills, said Defra. The Environment Agency would be empowered to lock the gates or block access to problem waste sites to prevent the build-up of illegal waste.

Councils spent more than £7.5m cleaning up the Midlands in just 12 months – but the cost to farmers and landowners is also high. On a regional level, there were 130,901 reported fly-tipping incidents in the Midlands between April 2016 and March 2017 – a year-on-year increase of about 21%.

The proposals 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 rubbish.

Ms Coffey said: “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.”

Illegal sites

The agency uncovered more than 850 new illegal waste sites in 2016-17. But fly-tipping continues to blight much of the region. Although two sites are shut down daily, many continue to create severe problems for local farmers and business.

Household waste 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 councils.

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