Environment Agency to get tough on waste criminals

24th July 2008

Illegal waste sites are still a big problem for the waste industry and the Environment Agency (EA) has a lot to do to make it easier for companies to take the environment more seriously, according to EA chief executive Paul Leinster.

Unveiling the EA's annual Spotlight report on the environmental performance of business, Leinster said that over the last 10 years the EA had helped create a better environment for people and through its approach to regulation has reduced waste by 14% since 1998.

But he said that illegal waste sites were still a big problem that needs to be tackled.
Illegal waste sites include dumping grounds where the owners of these grounds accept waste for money without having a waste permit. They can consist of illegal car scrap yards or bigger sites where construction waste is dumped on disused land.

The report found that in England and Wales in 2006 - 2007, the EA closed 277 illegal waste sites and issued an exemption to 75. 


Environment Agency chief executive Paul Leinster told MRW that illegal activity is the ‘ugly' side of the waste industry. He said: "There are criminals who are operating in this area and we need to stamp them out because if they are operating then they are undercutting legitimate business. We need to be encouraging legitimate business and there are some really good sites.
"What we need to be doing, is encouraging the good to go further and make sure that those that are trying to do their best to receive help to improve. Those that do not want to act legally will be closed down. They have two choices, either we close them down or they start acting legally - but that's their choice."