What is waste crime?• The deliberate breaking of the law by people who don’t manage, transport and dispose of waste correctly.• Waste crime is relatively new and is: • nasty for the environment; • for the people affected; and • for legitimate business that pay for waste permits and tipping fees.
Extent of waste crimeThe EA focuses on tackling serious waste crimes.• Priority waste crime types include; • Illegal waste sites, e.g. dealing with used vehicles, scrap metal, etc; • Illegal export of waste, e.g. tyres, waste electrical equipment and black bag waste containing mixed household waste such as paper, plastics, etc; • Large scale illegal dumping, e.g. more than two large skips worth of waste. Figure 1 below shows the distribution of known illegal waste sites, March 2012 (EA source)
Extent of waste crime• Includes storage, treatment & disposal of waste.• 1175 illegal waste sites at the end of March 2012; • 32% for construction and demolition waste • 23% for mixed household or commercial waste • 22% for end-of-life vehicles and vehicle parts Figures 2 and 3 below: Illegal waste sites showing key waste type and activity, March 2012 (EA source)
Illegal export of waste• Waste shipped over the world is increasing due to: • Economic growth and • Globalisation• Has generated a lucrative market in waste export.• In developing industrial countries in Asia and Africa, like China and India waste is considered as a valuable source of raw material.• Within the EU, as many as 15% of all transport movements involve waste.
Illegal export of waste• There is growing evidence of illegal transfrontier movements of waste; • In 2011, 750 tonnes of contaminated waste was repatriated from Brazil back to the UK.• The EU seaport project revealed 197 illegal waste shipments and 286 other infractions out of a total of 660 shipments.• The busy European ports seem to be hub ports for waste movement within the EU and beyond.
Illegal dumping of waste• The EA deals with large, serious and organised incidents;• Sometimes involves hazardous waste with greater potential to: • damage the environment and • harm people• Example is the 2009 Midlands and North of England case. The EA found several trailers containing hazardous waste dumped across the Midlands and North of England.
Risk of waste crime• Not dealing with waste crime can: • cause serious damage to the environment; • pose risk to human health, e.g. illegal burming produces toxic fumes; • create problems for local communities, such as noise and nuisance for those living nearby and declining property prices; • be bad for businesses, as illegal operators undercut legitimate waste companies
Risk of waste crime• They pose risks to people and the environment;• Tend to cluster around towns and cities as well as key motorway links.• The worst of them pollute homes and schools with smoke from illegally burned materials; • more than 300 of the sites were within 50m of schools, homes or sensitive environmental sites; • the agency prosecuted a Leicestershire company for illegally burning waste and affecting local air quality. Nearby residents homes were affected by smoke.
Cost to tackle waste crime• Big and growing business with 1,175 illegal sites in England and Wales as of march 2012.• Estimated cost of clearance of fly-tipping to Local Authorities revealed at £37.4 million.• Investigation, surveillance and prosecution takes time and cost a lot: • EA devotes £17 million of public money a year to tackle; • EA investing a further £4.9 million over the next year and half on a task force to target illegally operating waste sites.
Current trend• Overall number of illegals sites is barely falling;• New sites opening almost as fast as they’re closed down (fig 3 below);• Waste sites remain significant and constantly evolving problem;• According to EA, for every eight permitted sites, there is one illegal one;• Figure 3: Trends in the number of illegal waste sites, April 2009- March 2012 (EA source)
Actions takenDuring 2011-2012 the EA:• closed 759 illegal waste sites - 89 of these were brought within regulation and the rest closed;• dealt with 262 incidents of serious illegal dumping - 24 per cent of which involved construction and demolition waste;• set up our illegal waste site taskforce to help close more sites more quickly and understand why they operate illegally;• worked with a range of partners to develop better intelligence and stop more waste crime;• took 335 prosecutions for illegal waste activity – 15 of which were for illegal waste exports (during calendar year 2011).
Suggested solution• Better mutual assistance and collective action from the EA and partners, e.g. police, customs, etc;• Actions should range from traditional enforcement activities such as waste audits to more sophisticated technical and scientific resources- special surveillance, close circuit TT (CCTV);• Capabilities required to handle such illegal waste activities require capacities of resources-both personnel and other support;• ensure a timely and adequate response to all such activities.
Current trend• Significant numbers of sites are shut down each year but there has only been slight downward trend in total number of illegal waste sites (see fig 3).• Since the launch of the EA waste crime task force in December 2011, total number of illegal waste sites identified has almost doubled and expected to rise;• According to DEFRA, report of fly-tipping incidents in 2011/12 dropped by 9% compared to previous year. • Almost two thirds of this was household waste, & • 43% occurred on the motorway according to report.
Likely research areas• It is not enough to go after these sites. Research is needed to understand and determine: • the root causes of waste crimes to understand more about offender behavior and it’s impact;* • the way in which different types of waste move from the point of production to the point of disposal, recycling or recovery, using a waste stream approach ;** • the impacts of waste crime on legitimate business, communities and the environment. *** • the value and scale of illegal waste exports . Find out how much waste leaves England and Wales illegally.****