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We have spoken before about the effects of illegal waste disposal and the effect it can have on the environment and communities. We are pleased to hear this week that the Environment Agency has been teaming up with a number of other agencies to tackle the growing problem of waste crime.
On Tuesday, in conjunction with Crimestoppers and the Road Haulage Association, the Environment Agency were conducting stop and searches of wagons carrying waste, and were also visiting waste sites in an attempt to stop illegal behaviour.
They say that:
“The aim of the day of action, code name Operation Cyclone, is to disrupt the supply of waste to illegal waste sites, gather intelligence and encourage people to report waste crime”
You can find some images taken by the Environment Agency whilst carrying out their stop and searches here.
Paying the Penalty
It is estimated there are over 800 illegal waste sites in England and Wales. Last year alone almost 300 successful prosecutions were carried out due to waste crime, which produced fines exceeding £1.5 million.
Recently, after failing to pay the full amount of almost £1 million, a convicted waste criminal has been sentenced to a further 3 years in prison on top of the 4 and a half years he was initially handed. His illegal operation made millions of pounds worth of profit after he was dumping tonnes of construction waste in an illegal landfill.
The fines and convictions may seem excessive at first glance, but when you realise the damage that these rogue operators do it becomes clear why the punishments are so severe.
Aside from the unsightliness of having a makeshift waste site in your community, they also produce foul smells, attract rodents and can cause pollution. With hazardous waste, more serious damage can be caused to local wildlife and humans. This is why it is important to contact trusted professionals to dispose of your waste. While the low costs seem tempting, by funding cowboys you are indirectly contributing to environmental neglect.
If you suspect someone of committing waste crime, you may contact the Environment Agency directly on 0800 80 70 60 or visit their website here. You can also report concerns anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111