WMBA Officers met with the Joint Heads of Waste Regulation and Crime from DEFRA to discuss initiatives and the strategic approach to waste crime in the UK.
DEFRA have introduced a consultation paper aimed at all those involved in waste management in England & Wales titled ‘ A Consultation on Proposals to Tackle Crime and Poor Performance in the Waste Sector and Introduce a new Fixed Penalty for the Waste Duty of Care’. This runs for 10 weeks and closes on 26th March 2018.
In summary, DEFRA are making out a case for action for the UK to become a leader in resource efficiency and productivity to ensure competitiveness as well as reducing the adverse impacts to the economy and environment of waste crime. The economic cost was estimated at £604 Millions in 2015 resulting in lost business revenues to the legitimate waste sector, landfill tax evasion through misclassification of waste and costs to the public sector of clearing abandoned waste sites and fly-tipped waste. The environmental cost includes air, water and land pollution as well as potential infrastructure and community damage resulting from waste site fires.
Waste crime takes on many forms, generally falling into one of six categories:
1) Illegal waste sites (which may operate for a short or a long period);
2) Illegal burning of waste;
4) Misclassification and fraud;
5) Serious breaches of permit conditions, including the abandonment of waste; and
6) Illegal exports of waste.
It is also estimated that 90% of organisations breaking waste regulations are SMEs with up to 50 employees. This is why it is important that associations like the WMBA reach this audience.
The proposed action has a multiple approach, including :-
In terms of raising awareness, the recent Environmental Services Association (ESA) Right Waste Right Place programme makes a good addition. This aims to provide practical advice in meeting legal Duty of Care obligations for all waste stakeholders. There are 4 sections including Case Studies, Videos, Need to Know Cards (How to Comply) and Frequently Asked Questions.
The ESA also commissioned the ‘Re-thinking Waste Crime’ report by Eunomia, which develops the themes of tackling waste crime and makes 14 recommendations to bring about improvement.
Given the WMBA objectives of representing the interests of waste carriers, brokers, dealers and supply chain partners in the waste management industry, discussing an appropriate and practical regulatory regime, assisting with raising the level of training and awareness, promoting best practice through the WMBA Code of Practice and it’s implementation throughout the industry and raising the bar to exclude rogue traders, it is clear that discussion with DEFRA, HMRC and others who set and enforce the regulatory framework and industry working strategy is essential.
WMBA has already canvassed members about the above proposals concerning changes to the licensing regime for waste carriers, brokers and dealers, what is good about existing arrangements and what needs to change, how the industry can improve education and raise awareness. Members are also encouraged to share information and report waste crime to the Enforcement Authorities using existing reporting mechanisms. The WMBA will also be putting the case to the Authorities to ensure a clear and firm regulatory and enforcement regime whilst maintaining proportionality and practicality for those good businesses working in the industry.
A press release will be issued to members and to wider waste management on the issues outlined above and the WMBA encourages all concerned to take part in the consultation and express their views, suggestions and concerns so that we help to shape and develop our industry for the future.