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Environment Agency Reports Increase in Illegal Waste Operations

According to the Environment Agency, the use of warehouses storing illegal waste has almost doubled since 2014 and is believed to be costing tax payers in England approximately £1bn a year.

Research has found that there has been an 82% increase from 2013-2014 as over 1,000 waste sites were discovered without the authorisation of a legal permit between April 2015 and March 2016.

Last month a fire was caused in a warehouse in Walesby in Nottinghamshire which was storing illegal waste. The damage caused was catastrophic and is believed to have continued to smoulder despite the fire occurring two weeks previously.  

Statistics have shown that 1,000 new illegal waste sites were identified by the Agency in 2015-16, 800 in 2014-2015 and 600 in 2013-2014. The problem has led to the Agency using new powers to shut these sights down.

Enforcement team leader Peter Haslock of the Environment Agency said: 

"There are rogue waste operators, who hire land or share buildings and will fill with waste and then disappear leaving an environmental problem for the landowner of the property.”

"It's really important that the landlord know who they are dealing with [as they] will have to pay for the disposal of the waste if we cannot trace the people who have deposited it.”

"The costs of the clean up can be considerable depending on the type of waste."

Andrew Brammer, Head of Cartwright King’s Regulatory Team, commented that:

“Environmental offending is a serious and complex area of law. In our experience, the issue is not just the impact of these sites on the environment but also the huge cost of making the sites good again. This cost will almost certainly fall on the shoulders of any individuals or businesses convicted of illegal waste operations. If you are accused of being involved in an illegal waste operation, taking early advice from expert lawyers is vital.”

If you are a business owner or landowner, it is essential that you acknowledge the following:

  • It is illegal to treat, keep or dispose of controlled waste on land or by means of any mobile plant unless you adhere to the terms of a waste management licence or you have a registered exemption in place
  • It is illegal to keep or dispose of controlled waste that could cause environmental pollution or harm to human health
  • Convicted for an environmental offence before the Magistrates’ Court could result in 12 months imprisonment and an unlimited fine
  • If you are convicted before the Crown Court, you could face up to 5 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine

If you have been accused of any kind of environmental offending then call us on 0808 168 5550 for quality legal advice and representation from our acclaimed Regulatory department.

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