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Tougher penalties to crack down on waste crime

13 August 2008

Defra has launched a consultation on how to target criminals who profit from polluting the environment by illegally dumping waste.
Removing the waste costs large sums of money and - depending on the type of waste - can be hazardous to clear up. Fly-tipping and other forms of waste crime are often organised by professional criminals who make substantial profits by disposing of waste illegally.

Tougher penalties to crack down on waste crime
Tougher penalties to crack down on waste crime

The proposals will give local authorities and the Environment Agency new powers to stop, search and instantly seize vehicles suspected of being involved in fly-tipping and other waste offences. Offenders who do not come forward risk their vehicles being crushed.

Environment Minister Joan Ruddock said: "Fly-tipping poses a serious threat to humans and wildlife. It damages our environment and spoils our enjoyment of our towns and countryside. There are a large number of rogue operators out there claiming to dispose of waste responsibly but then dumping it in public areas as the high profile case in Essex this week highlighted. These are the people we've got in our sights.

"It is estimated to cost over £100 million every year to investigate and clear up illegally dumped waste - a cost which falls on taxpayers and private landowners. This consultation will give everyone the opportunity to have their say on how we can tackle these crimes and I would encourage people to respond," Ruddock added.

The consultation documents propose a number of additional measures aimed at business including
doubling the maximum fine for duty of care and waste carrier offences from £5,000 to £10,000; making it an offence to provide false and misleading information on a waste carrier application form and for failure to inform the Environment Agency of changes to registration details; funding for a national or regional awareness raising campaign; updating guidance to make it easier for businesses to comply with the controls; and steps to ensure producers and the public have up to date and accurate information in their area.

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