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The formation of the JUWC was announced in a 15th January 2020 press release from DEFRA. The new unit bolsters the Environment Agency’s (EA) existing efforts to tackle waste crime. But there is confusion over its impact on fly-tipping.

JUWC and fly-tipping

The EA is responsible for investigating large scale fly-tipping but in 2017 they stated that “In recent years the Environment Agency has concentrated its enforcement of illegal waste activity against more serious offences rather than the activity which is often regarded as fly-tipping”.

In 2019 my analysis had shown that of the 113 prosecutions they made in 2018/19 only one was for fly-tipping. The other 11 “illegal dumping” prosecutions were for waste site management irregularities such this one for operating a waste site without a permit.

The press release did not mention “fly-tipping” once. Environment Secretary, Theresa Villiers, was quoted, inter alia, as saying that the taskforce will “step up action to shut down illegal waste sites and catch the criminals responsible” and again that “they will shut down illegal waste sites”

There is nothing in the press release to indicate that any additional resources will be put into catching large scale fly-tippers.

Daily Telegraph article

However, an article in the on-line Daily Telegraph dated 15th January 2020 is headlined “Prison sentences for fly-tippers as government announces new ‘waste police’ unit” and quotes Theresa Villiers as saying “the new taskforce would crack down on fly-tippers”

Review of waste crime 2018

The formation of the JUWC was recommended in the government’s Independent review into serious and organised crime in the waste sector – November 2018

It was interesting to see how it classified the various types of waste crime. It said that ‘Waste crime’ takes many forms, including:

  • fly-tipping
  • illegal dumping or burning of waste
  • deliberate mis-description of waste
  • operation of illegal waste management sites
  • and illegal waste export

This is a further indication that illegal dumping refers to a waste site dumping and not as fly tipping.

Under Environment Agency funding it says that of the funding for the current year (2018/19) £5.6 million is allocated to Area Enforcement Teams (AET; 117 FTE), tackling illegal sites and “dumping”. There was it seems no budget for tackling “fly-tipping”.

All posts on fly-tipping


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