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Waste crime review

The Government has launched a ‘Call for Evidence’ to hear about waste crime and Organised Crime Groups (OCGs) who profit from it. A review will be chaired by Lizzie Noel, a Non-Executive Director at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “Organised criminals running illegal waste dumps and fly-tipping are blighting local communities. They cost our economy vast amounts of money, pollute our environment and harm our wildlife. We must crack down on these criminals who have no regard for the impact they have on peoples’ lives. The time is right for us to look at how we can best tackle these antisocial and inexcusable crimes.”

The Government has recently given councils powers to hand out on-the-spot fines to fly-tippers, given new powers for vehicles suspected of being used for fly-tipping to be stopped, searched and seized, and later this year subject to Parliamentary approval will introduce new fixed penalty notices for householders who pass their waste to a fly-tipper.

The review is due to be completed by September. Pictured from the September 2016 print issue of Professional Security; industrial-scale dumping of waste at Rainham, beside the high-speed line from London to the Channel Tunnel.

The Government says that the review, reporting to Defra, will:

Consider the types of crimes being committed and organised crime groups involved;
Consider the environmental, community and economic impacts of serious and organised waste crime;
Consider how the Environment Agency, others, and the law enforcement system can work together to tackle the threat; and
Make recommendations for a strategic approach to serious and organised waste crime.

Home Office Minister of State for Security and Economic Crime, Ben Wallace, said: “Organised crime groups exploit any opportunity to make money. Our local communities are being scarred by the illegal dumping of waste, while at the same time people are being conned into placing contracts with dodgy waste firms. We are committed to ending this scourge and I look forward to exploring what more Defra, local authorities, the private sector and police can do on this issue.”

More than 850 new illegal waste sites were discovered by the Environment Agency in 2016-17. While an average of two illegal waste sites are shut every day, they continue to create severe problems for communities and business, particularly in rural areas, as well as posing a risk to key national infrastructure, the Government admits. A Home Office 2013 study (Understanding organised crime: estimating the scale and the social and economic costs) suggested that criminals may also use waste management activities such as operating illegal waste sites as a cover for crimes such as theft, human trafficking, fraud, drugs supply, firearms supply and money laundering.

Review chair Lizzie Noel said: “The health of our communities, environment, and economy is being harmed by organised groups committing serious waste crimes. This review is an opportunity to properly understand the extent of this criminal activity, and I look forward to working with a range of partners to ensure our response is robust and effective.”

An advisory panel comprises Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire; Colin Church, Chief Executive Officer at Chartered Institute of Waste Management; and Craig Naylor, Lincolnshire Police Deputy Chief Constable.


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