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Rethinking Waste Crime - ESA report May 2017

The Environmental Services Association (ESA) is the trade association representing the UK’s resource and waste management industry.

They have produced a major report on waste crime (including fly-tipping) with wide ranging recommendations

“In plain sight, we are experiencing a systematic failure in the waste management sector”

Link to the full report

I have extracted the following snippets from the summary:

We have poured more resources into the same old institutions, structures and processes but to little avail. We need a different approach. One which targets the underlying causes of crime in our sector and which roots out the prevailing culture which allows waste crime to flourish.

We need to do more to stop criminals from entering our sector in the first place. This report highlights the weaknesses in the current regime whereby it is simply too easy for illegitimate waste carriers to obtain a registration. Secondly, we need to stop criminals from getting their hands on waste streams. This requires much stronger application of duty of care legislation whereby waste producers and brokers are held responsible for their waste which ends up dumped in illegal sites. And thirdly we need to stop that criminal activity which is already taking place much sooner. Defra has moved in this direction but more could still be done.

In plain sight, we are experiencing a systematic failure in the waste management sector.

Regulatory effort remains overwhelmingly focused on sites where waste management operations occur. Critically, other parts of the waste management chain, such as waste carriers and brokers are not subject to this level of regulation.

Often regulations in place are poorly enforced. Within some critical components of the sector, such as waste carriers registration and waste exemptions, the regulatory hurdles can be overcome by a few clicks on a computer, with far too few inspections by the regulator. It would be hard to describe it as an effective regulatory system.

The test for operator competence is only applied to those who have an environmental permit. There are other areas of the sector where operator competence is assumed and not tested. This includes waste carriers, brokers and dealers who have important duties relating to classifying waste and ensuring that it is sent to authorised sites.

Additionally there is no source of direct funding for Duty of Care inspections of waste producers or carriers, whether by the Environment Agency or local authorities.

Peter Silverman
9th May 2017


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