The Environment Agency and a string of partners including HMRC and the Joint Unit for Waste Crime (JUWC) visited a number of waste sites across England last week as part of two operations to “crack down on waste criminals”.
The Agency said that the operation on 12 January formed part of Operations Lyceum and Iris, and saw lorries outside of waste sites checked in a bid to stop the movement of misdescribed waste and prevent its incorrect and unsafe disposal.
Additionally, the Agency and JUWC worked with partners including the police and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency to check vehicles and drivers for other offences, such as tax evasion and vehicle defects, it continued.
The Agency outlined that its officers spoke with 30 lorry drivers regarding the cargoes they were transporting and tested nine lorries for hazardous waste. The body added that police also seized a stolen generator worth £15,000 and flushed out lorry drivers who attempted to evade inspection.
Phil Davies, head of the Joint Unit for Waste Crime, commented: “Last week we led another successful multi-agency day of action across the country. Working with partners including HMRC, DVSA and the police, we stopped and inspected trucks we suspected were involved in the movement of misdescribed waste.
“Anyone involved in similar activities should be aware that we will use the capabilities of different agencies to track and stop them.”
The Environment Agency noted that waste crime costs the English economy an estimated £1 billion per year, adding that it continues its work with partners to catch waste criminals.
The Agency stated that between 2017 and 2020, it stopped illegal waste activity at 2,700 sites and initiated 191 prosecutions for illegal waste sites, handing down 39 prison sentences. And, the issued fines amounted to over £1.1 million for illegal waste sites, plus £5.5 million in Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation orders, the regulator added.
It continued that in 2019/20, it prosecuted nearly 100 individuals and companies for waste crime offences, with fines exceeding £900,000, 28 custodial sentences and £1 million of confiscation orders.