The UK Government’s Environment Agency (EA) has published the results of a national waste crime survey, revealing that large-scale fly-tipping remains one of the biggest problems for the waste sector.
The survey was commissioned by the EA and supported by the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), Environmental Services Association (ESA), the United Resource Operators Consortium and the National Farmers Union (NFU).
The survey, to which 836 people responded, assessed how the waste industry and associated sectors are impacted by waste crime and how regulation can more effectively tackle the issue.
With respondents citing large-scale fly-tipping as the biggest problem for the sector, 55 per cent estimated that the issue has increased in incidence over the past 12 months. The biggest group affected by this crime was found to be farmers.
The second-biggest problem was that of illegal waste sites.
Respondents estimated that 25 per cent of waste crime incidents are reported to the EA, however waste industry employees estimate that just under one in five organisations (18 per cent) in their industry sector commit some form of waste crime.
Malcolm Lythgo, Head of Waste Regulation at the Environment Agency, said: “Waste criminals show complete disregard for communities and the environment, and they need to know we are ready to take action.
“Last year the EA prosecuted nearly 100 individuals and companies for waste crime offences, with fines exceeding £900,000, 28 custodial sentences and £1 million of confiscation orders.
“We know how frustrating and costly waste crime is for landowners and communities, as well as those who manage their waste correctly but see others breaking the rules to gain an unfair competitive advantage.
“This survey gives us valuable insight into the views of our customers and those impacted by waste crime, and will help us in our fight against waste criminals.
“It will help us improve compliance of the waste sector and clamp down harder on those who show complete disregard for the environment and the law.”