New powers have been provided to Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and local authorities in Wales to help tackle illegal activity in the waste sector, which is estimated to cost the Welsh economy up to £32 million annually.
The National Assembly for Wales approved The Waste Enforcement Regulations 2018, which is part of a range of measures aimed at fighting waste crime and problematic waste sites throughout Wales.
NRW will now be able to act faster at the waste sites by locking gates to prevent more waste entering the site in order to stop pollution from continuing.
To reduce the impact of abandoned waste, NRW and authorities will also be allowed to take action on landowners, requiring them to remove waste unlawfully present on a site, even if they were originally deposited lawfully.
Welsh Minister for Environment Hannah Blythyn said: “We have worked with Natural Resources Wales to identify what more can be done to prevent problematic and abandoned waste sites and I have listened to the views of industry”.
“These new powers to take action against illegal waste operators will create a level playing field and help ensure operators who comply with the rules do not lose out to those who undermine and undercut the law-abiding majority.”
NRW executive director for Evidence, Policy and Permitting Ceri Davies said: “These new powers will be an invaluable weapon in our continuing fight against waste crime. Unscrupulous operators pose a threat to the environment, the health and wellbeing of the communities in which they operate and undermine the Welsh economy.
“But now, thanks to the new regulations, we will be able to deal with them more effectively and reduce the impact of their illegal activity.”