Waste crime costs taxpayers £604m a year

By Gem Childe on 4th May 2017


The Environmental Services Association (ESA) commissioned the report and is now urging for stronger regulation to stop illegal waste operators which will save taxpayers money.

The trade body is calling for a revamp of UK waste and recycling regulation in order to stamp out illegal waste operators.

The report estimates the increasing cost of illegal waste activities in England is now equivalent to building 34 new secondary schools or pay for 4,137 NHS hospital beds each year.

The majority of waste crime relates to waste from businesses, according to the report, and includes activities such as illegal waste sites, inaccurately describing waste, illegal burning of waste and fly tipping.

The report claims the waste and recycling sector adds £6.6bn of value to the UK economy, but has changed "beyond all recognition" over the past 20 years.

Jacob Hayler, executive director at the ESA, said: "Clearly, we need a different approach which targets the underlying causes of crime in our sector and which roots out the prevailing culture which allows waste crime to flourish.

"This report highlights the weakness in the current regime and puts forward ambitious recommendations aimed at stopping waste crime once and for all."

Recommended changes include tightening up regulations, increasing enforcement, boosting funding for the Environment Agency, and banning serious and repeat offenders from operating in the waste and recycling sector.

Last year Environment Agency head Sir James Bevan described waste crime as the "new narcotics", and the waste and recycling sector will be seeking further action from the next government to stamp it out.