Environment Agency urges people to report waste crime

The Environment Agency (EA) is today (18 June) working with Police, Road Haulage Association, Association of British Insurers, Vehicle and Operator Service Agency and Crimestoppers in an attempt to crack down on waste crime.


EA Officers are setting up stop and searches and also visiting waste sites to prevent illegal waste activity that undercuts legitimate business, as it reveals that there are currently in excess of 800 illegal waste sites operating throughout England and Wales.


Highlighting the dangers, the EA said that illegal waste sites can cause serious pollution incidents, bad smells, chemical spills, blight the landscape and cause misery for surrounding communities.


It added that sites that covertly hold hazardous waste and chemicals without safeguards are breaking the law and risk causing serious pollution incidents that damage rivers, habitats and pose a risk to human health.


In 2011-2012, it was revealed that the Environment Agency issued 139 formal cautions relating to waste crime, while almost 300 successful prosecutions resulted in total fines in excess of £1.6m - the highest fine being for £100,000.


Stating the aim of the day of action, it said that it wants to disrupt the supply of waste to illegal waste sites, gather intelligence and encourage people to report waste crime either through its incident line: 0800 80 70 60 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 0800 80 70 60 FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting or anonymously through Crimestoppers: 0800 555 111 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 0800 555 111 FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting .


It also said that it will be providing advice and guidance to ensure waste is handled correctly and to bring illegal waste sites into compliance.


Commenting, Steve Townhill, Environment Agency Taskforce Manager, said:


“Waste crime undermines legitimate business, can cause harm to environment and misery for local people.


“We will continue to work with our enforcement partners to combine our powers to disrupt illegal waste activity.”


Rodger Holden from Crimestoppers added:


“We have worked alongside the Environment Agency since 2011 and this relationship has been key to eliminating waste crime that can have a huge effect on people’s lives.


“Through this partnership we have been able to engage with the agency and discover what issues are affecting our environment, while they have been able to call on our expertise to tackle these problems and our call to action, encouraging people to pass on information about waste crime, completely anonymously.”


Environment Agency teams will be posting updates on twitter during the day using #WasteCrime, so you can keep up-to-date with their activities.

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