ESA and Environment Agency to partner on tackling waste crime


The Environmental Services Association (ESA) and the Environment Agency (EA) have reached agreement to pursue a collaborative approach to tackling waste crime.

By leveraging the efforts of companies working hard to protect the environment, the EA will adopt priorities that clearly target environmental risk. Utilising the industry’s technical expertise to assist the development of effective regulation will enable the EA to focus its resources where they will have the biggest impact.


Specific proposals will now be worked up jointly to seize opportunities in these priority areas: 

·         The need to refresh the EA’s approach to regulation by sharing key challenges, e.g. waste fires, and agreeing how best to tackle them using the combined resources of the EA and the best performing operators.

·           A system of earned recognition in the sector enabling the EA to focus resources on the poorest performing sites and waste criminals who ignore their obligations and pollute the environment and harm local communities.

·         Sharing intelligence and taking tough action against those who pass their waste on to illegal operators failing to deliver their Duty of Care. Waste crime often occurs at the end of a supply chain where there have been failures in Duty of Care by those at the beginning.

·         Improving technical competence in the waste sector – working with Government to ensure that waste is only handled by suitably trained personnel at sites operated by companies with sufficient financial reserves to meet their obligations

ESA chairman Dr Stewart Davies said: “At a time when waste crime seems more entrenched than ever, it is vital that the regulator is able to trust ESA Members to do the right thing and focus its resources on criminals and poor performing operators. The industry is an excellent source of technical expertise which will be made available to help the Agency deliver its objectives. This is a fine example of regulatory best practice which can be an example to other sectors.”

Environment Agency chief executive Sir James Bevan (pictured) said: “I’m extremely pleased to be strengthening our relationship with the Environmental Services Association to raise standards across the sector and fight waste crime. 

“We want to work with responsible operators to deliver more targeted regulations but also focus our resources on hitting the worst offenders which is good news for legitimate businesses, the economy and local communities. In addition, a more proactive approach to duty of care will plug weaknesses in the supply chain and prevent waste from leaking into the hands of criminals.”