A taskforce from the Environment Agency set up stop and searches and visiting waste sites yesterday to crack down on waste crime that undercuts legitimate businesses and affects local communities.
Given the code name ‘Operation Cyclone’, it aims to stop the supply of waste to illegal sites, gather intelligence and encourage people to report the crime.
Figures from the environmental watchdog suggests there are currently in excess of 800 illegal waste sites operating throughout England & Wales. They can cause serious pollution incidents, bad smells, chemical spills and cause misery for surrounding communities.
The Agency works with Police, Road Haulage Association, Vehicle and Operator Service Agency, Crimestoppers and the Association of British Insurers.
Rodger Holden from Crimestoppers said: “We have worked alongside the Environment Agency since 2011 and this relationship has been key to eliminating waste crime that can have a huge effect on people’s lives.
“Through this partnership we have been able to engage with the agency and discover what issues are affecting our environment, while they have been able to call on our expertise to tackle these problems and our call to action, encouraging people to pass on information about waste crime, completely anonymously.”
The Environment Agency issued 139 formal cautions relating to waste crime in 2011-2012 and almost 300 successful prosecutions resulted in total fines in excess of £1.6 million.