Fines and sentences for waste crime may be strengthened, the Government has revealed in the Waste Review.
It will consider “whether the current levels of fines and sentencing are sufficient to disrupt illegal operations and provide a sufficient deterrent, particularly for more serious, persistent and organised waste crime”.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs also plans to crack down on illegal waste exports. The Waste Review says: “There are clear controls and restrictions on what waste can be exported…The Government will continue to encourage the Environment Agency to prioritise combating the illegal trade in waste using their pioneering techniques and an intelligence-led approach to target effort and resources onto suspected unlawful operators. This will help to prevent and disrupt illegal activity and prosecute offenders.
“In taking this work forward, the Agency will work closely with UK customs authorities and other environmental agencies, the shipping lines and overseas regulators, and Government will assist with the provision of a necessary legal gateway to enable the sharing of information between the authorities.”
The Government also plans to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses when it comes to Environment Agency inspections. It plans to introduce improved online self-regulation mechanisms for legitimate businesses.
In particular, it wants to improve measures to prevent metal theft. The Waste Review says: “In conjunction with the Home Office and the members of the ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) Conductive Metal Theft Working Group, we will examine the case for streamlining the overlapping powers, controls and obligations on businesses as currently set out in the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964, and the record-keeping requirements of waste legislation, with a view to improving enforcement and reducing opportunities for criminals.”