Government review calls for new fines for mislabelling of waste

England’s Environment Agency (EA) should be given the power to impose new fines on waste operators that deliberately mislabel their waste to avoid tax rules, according to an independent review ordered by UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove.

The review, released last week (14 November), also recommended that compulsory electronic tracking of waste could help clamp down on illegal movements of waste and disrupt organised crime, both domestically and abroad, while producers should face financial penalties if their waste is deposited illegally.

New fines, such as a Fixed Penalty Notice, for the deliberate mis-description of waste would put the practice on the same level as fly-tipping, for which Fixed Penalty Notices can be imposed by local authorities.

Other recommendations in the review include the creation of a Joint Unit for Waste Crime (JUWC) led by the EA with the Police, Crime Commissioners HMRC and waste industry representatives working together to tackle the most serious cases, and the creation of a national database of registered waste brokers to make it harder for unscrupulous operators to do business.