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Waste crime under the microscope

The UK government has announced a review into serious and organised crime in the waste sector in England. It has been estimated that waste criminals cost the English economy more than £600 million (Euro 700 million) in 2015.

Their activities include evading landfill tax, operating illegal waste sites, exporting waste illegally and fly-tipping. A ‘call for evidence’ has been launched with the waste sector invited to comment by 8 July.


‘We must crack down on these criminals who have no regard for the impact they have on peoples’ lives,’ says Environment secretary Michael Gove. ‘The time is right for us to look at how we can best tackle these antisocial and inexcusable crimes.’

The Home Office has suggested that criminals may also use waste management activities as a cover for crimes such as theft, human trafficking, fraud, drugs supply, firearms supply and money laundering.

More enforcement

Since 2014, the UK government has given the Environment Agency an extra £60 million (Euro 70 million) towards enforcement work to tackle waste crime. This extra investment has shown a return of about £5 for every £1 extra spent.

EA chief executive James Bevan comments: ‘We welcome the opportunity to review how best we deploy our resources and strengthen ties across government and with the police to target organised criminal rings behind illegal waste operations, and bring perpetrators to justice.’

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