Local authorities could have the option of fining those whose waste ends up fly-tipped or illegally dumped rather than having to pursue them through the courts, under proposals put out for consultation by the Government today.
Guidance on how the fixed penalty notices should be applied will be issued to councils, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said.
The Government is also consulting on proposals to raise the bar required to hold Environment Agency waste permits, and requiring the registration of low-risk waste operations which are currently exempt from the need to hold a permit.
The Environment Agency is meanwhile to receive, subject to parliamentary approval, new powers from Spring 2018 to:
- lock the gates or block access to problem waste sites to prevent thousands of tonnes of waste illegally building up;
- force operators to clear all the waste at a problem waste site, not just the illegal waste.
Environment Minister Therese Coffey said: “Waste crime and fly-tipping blight our communities and spoil our countryside, and we need determined action to tackle it.
“These new powers for the Environment Agency will curb the rise of waste sites that continue to operate outside the law.
“But we must all take responsibility for our waste to make sure it does not end up in the hands of criminals who will wilfully dump it. Our new consultation looks more widely at the waste sector and we are keen to hear from industry and the public how we can improve performance, tackle illegality and protect our precious environment.”
More than 850 new illegal waste sites were discovered by the Environment Agency in 2016-17.
Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, said: “We welcome these new powers, which will enable our teams to block access to problem sites, preventing illegal waste building up and becoming even more serious.”