Agency steps up efforts to tackle waste crime
Flushed with success after securing the largest ever fine for infringements of waste regulations, the Environment Agency has published a statement saying it has been ramping up its war on waste crimes.
But while the Red Bull story may be grabbing the headlines, the EA is keen to emphasise that the fines handed down for waste crimes have doubled over the last five years and totaled £3m last year.
It puts this success down, in part, to the creation of a specialised team set up over the past year to tackle environmental crimes.
The National Environmental Crime Team is made up of forensics experts, former detectives and intelligence officers with experience in tackling organised crime and recovering profits made through illegal activity.
The EA prosecuted 454 waste cases last year, ranging from storing waste without the appropriate licences to large scale fly-tipping of hazardous waste and illegal export of waste for disposal abroad.
Liz Parkes, head of waste and resource management at the Environment Agency, said:
"This is not about people putting rubbish in the wrong bins - we concentrate on those individuals and companies whose illegal activities have the potential to cause serious damage to the environment.
"The rules on how to handle, transport and dispose of waste are in place to protect the environment and people's health, in this country and abroad. The Environment Agency takes swift and decisive action against anyone who flouts these strict controls.
"The increase in the level of fines reflects how seriously the Environment Agency and the courts are taking waste offences."