Government clamps down to weed out waste cheats
A clamp down on illegal waste transporters and disposers in the capital has been announced by the Environment Agency, which has said it "is coming after them".The EA's warning came the same day as a series of stop checks that were executed in collaboration with the Police on any vans, pick ups or trucks that were carrying waste.
The secret vehicle stop and search was carried out all around London, which the agency has identified as one of the country's biggest fly tipping hotspots.
Following recent rules banning the co-disposal of hazardous and non hazardous waste (see related story), the number of sites permitted to take hazardous waste in England and Wales has fallen considerably.
In light of this, the EA has targeted the efforts of its enforcement officers on a comprehensive programme of inspections and audits of waste sites and producers.
As well as random stop and searches on vehicles, the EA will also be making hundreds of unannounced inspection visits to hazardous waste producers and exporters, as well as regularly inspecting all major landfill sites.
Since August, when the regulations came into force, the EA has already taken enforcement action against 25 operators, seven of which were then prosecuted.
Chairman of the EA, Sir John Harman, said that the agency proposed to take the waste cheats on from as many angels as possible, adding it was vital to stay vigilant and work closely with the industry to control the crooks.
"We are determined to ensure that human health and the environment are not put at risk by criminals who flout the law," Sir Harman warned. "Our initiatives send a message out to unscrupulous people who think that they can make a quick buck at the expense of the environment - we are coming after you!"
By Jane Kettle