Following a number of recent lobbying successes including on hare coursing and the UK Government’s Sustainable Farming Incentive, the CLA has now secured action from Whitehall to combat fly-tipping.
The new crackdown on waste criminals was unveiled by Environment Minister Jo Churchill as part of fresh plans to reform the waste industry.
Proposals set out in two new consultations will clamp down on waste crime and support people and businesses to manage waste correctly.
The reform of the waste industry will see increased background checks for firms who move or trade waste, as well as making it easier for regulators across the UK take action against rogue operators.
With waste often handled by intermediaries who conceal their identities to commit serious and organised waste crime, the increased checks will ensure waste is managed by authorised persons only and in a safe manner, making it harder for unregistered operators to find work in the sector.
New plans will also see the introduction of mandatory digital waste tracking, using powers in the landmark Environment Act to overhaul existing waste record keeping. This means those handling waste will record information from the point waste is produced to the stage it is disposed of, recycled and reused. This will enable regulators to better detect illegal activity and tackle waste crime, including fly-tipping, illegal waste sites, and illegal waste exports.
Criminal activities including fly-tipping, illegal dumping, and the illegal export of waste abroad can blight our communities, harm the environment, and pose a risk to human health. In 2018/19, waste crime cost the English economy around £924 million. Local authorities dealt with nearly 1.13 million fly-tipping incidents this year alone.
The new plans build on the extra £60 million given to the Environment Agency to tackle waste crime since 2014 as well as new powers to stop illegal waste sites posing a risk to the environment, including the ability to lock up sites and force rogue operators to clean up all their waste.
Country Land and Business President Mark Tufnell said:
“On average, each incident of fly-tipping costs the landowner almost £1,000 to clean up, and in the most extreme cases can cost up to £100,000. Two thirds of all farmers and landowners have at some stage been a victim. After many years of lobbying from the Country Land and Business Association, the Government is beginning to recognise the appalling harm fly-tipping is doing to the countryside.
The incidences highlighted by local authorities are usually just the tip of the iceberg, given that hundreds of thousands of offences on private land go unrecorded.
“These measures are a good start. However, Government must go further still concentrating on increasing prosecutions and imposing heavy fines on convicted offenders.”
DEFRA Environment Minister Jo Churchill said:
“Waste criminals show complete disregard for our communities, the environment and the taxpayer. We have disrupted these rogue operators by giving extra powers to the Environment Agency, with nearly 1,000 illegal waste sites now being shut down each year, while our new Joint Unit for Waste Crime is successfully disrupting criminal gangs, for example, prosecuting fly tippers illegally dumping hundreds of tonnes of hazardous waste across the countryside.
“But there is more to do. Reforming the licensing system will clamp down on abuse of the system and new mandatory digital waste tracking will greatly improve transparency in the sector and make it easier for householders to check that their waste is being disposed of legally.
“Together, these reforms will stop criminals abusing the waste system and make it easier to prosecute offenders successfully.”