Defra consultation – waste crime

Posted 19/02/2018 : By: Tim Norris

Consultation on proposals to tackle crime and poor performance in the waste sector & introduce a new fixed penalty for the waste duty of care

The government is looking to conduct a consultation process to address waste crime and poor performance, by giving regulators, Environment Agency (EA) in England and Natural Resources Wales (NRW), new powers to tackle waste crime on the ground and giving local authorities the power to issue fixed penalty notices for small scale fly-tipping.

Since 2015, the government has worked with the regulators and stakeholders to develop proposals to introduce these measures as well as others and are now seeking views on proposals through a consultation process.

The consultation is divided into three sections:

1) focusing on raising the standard of operator competence across all permitted waste sites by strengthening the regulators’ assessment and enforcement abilities;

2) reforming the waste exemptions regime within the waste permitting system;

3) the introduction of a new Fixed Penalty Notice for household Duty of Care offences for fly-tipping.

Areas to be considered include:

  • A proposal to raise the bar to hold and obtain a waste permit by strengthening the regulators’ assessment and enforcement of the competence of waste operators to a grading system based, in part, on past performance, management systems, technical competence and financial provision.
  • This will entail widening the definition of relevant offences, consider taking spent offences into account in exceptional circumstances, take into account an operator’s poor behaviour towards regulatory officers when assessing past performance, widening the definition of relevant person (earlier in the permit process),and introduce a written management system.
  • The extent of waste crime carried out at sites operating under registered exemptions raised a range of concerns about the ways exemptions are abused to hide illegal waste operations. Registering multiple exemptions, for instance, at a single site is recognised as a method used to hide large scale illegal waste activities. In an effort to reduce this; one proposal is for an exempt waste operation not to be carried out at a permitted waste operation in some cases.
  • Finally as far as householders’ domestic waste are concerned and those guilty of minor fly tipping the government is considering an increase in the use of and level of fixed penalty notices (“FPNs”). In tandem they propose providing enforcement authorities with new powers to issue FPNs to occupiers of a domestic property (householders) who fail to take all reasonable measures to ensure that any transfer, by them, of household waste produced on the property is to an authorised person. The power would be made available to the EA, NRW and waste collection authorities, who currently enforce the other waste duty of care offences.

If you are the subject of such a prosecution or require further advice or any other Waste Crime matter please contact us.

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