27 illegal waste sites uncovered by Environment Agency and HMRC sting
Officers visited more than 50 suspected illegal waste sites across the East of England in a single day, finding half were breaking the law.
The largest one-day sting ever carried out by the Environment Agency and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has confirmed illegal activity at more than 2 dozen waste sites across Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire and Leicestershire.
Officers found 4 sites where waste had been burnt illegally, a further 4 which were actively and illegally treating and transferring waste, and a number containing construction and demolition waste, vehicle parts and household waste.
Among the rubbish, officers observed shredded plastics, soil, rubble, scrap metal, tyres, pallets – and, at one site, a number of discarded toilets.
Some of the sites contained overflowing skips and more than 5,000 tonnes of waste being stored illegally.
A total of 54 sites were visited by officers; of them, half were found to be operating within the law. Those that weren’t will receive written guidance from the Environment Agency clarifying the steps they must take, and follow-up visits will be arranged to make sure the site operators comply.
Pete Stark, Environment Agency Enforcement team leader, yesterday said:
We will be following up on every single site where we’ve found illegal activity so we can put a stop to activities that blight our neighbourhoods, our environment and our economy.
Working closely with HMRC to investigate these reports from local communities has helped us strengthen our working relationship, identify sites of interest, and prevent and disrupt crime that puts people, wildlife and legitimate businesses at risk.
We take waste crime extremely seriously, and formal investigations into these sites are now underway. We rely on intelligence from local communities to put a stop to waste crime, so if you have information about suspicious activity, report it to us by calling 0800 80 70 60.
Evidence gathered from the visits will be used against those breaking the law. Further enforcement action could include work with local authorities, the police, and HMRC to prevent and disrupt crime, the serving of notices to have waste removed from land, and prosecution of offenders.
If convicted of illegal waste activity, offenders face unlimited fines and up to 5 years in prison.
Earlier this year EA officers in Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire visited nearly 30 sites in a single day – uncovering illegal activity at 11. Across both counties, more than two dozen cases are currently under formal investigation.
More information on the requirements for disposing of business or commercial waste can be found on gov.uk.
Illegal waste activity is estimated to have cost more than £600m in 2015 in England alone.
However, over recent years, the Environment Agency has made great strides in tackling waste crime; more than 5,400 were stopped between 2011 and 2017 and an average of two sites are shut down every day.
Latest News from
Officers head to the beach all in the name of science21/06/2019 17:05:00
Beach users in Suffolk and Norfolk might be surprised to see Environment Agency staff stride into the sea in their waders, but they are testing water quality.
Exmouth tidal defence scheme exhibition - save the date18/06/2019 16:48:00
Learn how 1,800 properties will have their flood risk cut at the drop-in exhibition on 28 June 2019.
Not drowning but waving: making the climate emergency a global opportunity18/06/2019 15:13:00
Speech by Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive, Environment Agency Flood and Coast Conference, Telford International Centre, 18 June 2019
Climate change tops agenda at Flood and Coast Conference 201918/06/2019 14:51:00
The fourth Flood and Coast Conference opened in Telford today.
Anglers asked to embrace careful catch and release of salmon18/06/2019 09:51:00
The Environment Agency and its partner organisations are calling on anglers to choose to release salmon caught by rod and line and to handle fish with care.
Preventing pollution and hazards from soil water run-off17/06/2019 10:33:00
Environment Agency and Herefordshire Council are using satellite technology to target sites where soil water run-off is causing big problems for the environment and the county’s roads.
Emergency byelaw to protect salmon stocks throughout the Severn14/06/2019 12:47:00
The Environment Agency is today introducing an emergency byelaw to protect salmon in the River Severn and its estuary, after a review of recent data showed a significant reduction in salmon stock levels in the Severn.
The tip beneath the iceberg13/06/2019 16:53:00
Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency Speech to Resourcing the Future Conference 2019, London