The total cost of waste crime in England has increased by 53% in just three years. Now, it costs the country nearly £1bn annually, according to a recent study.
In a report published this July, the Environmental Services Association (ESA) revealed the cost of waste-related crime in England rose from £604m in 2015 to more than £924m in 2018/19.
When we scale and apply the available data for England to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the estimated cost to the UK rises to well above £1bn.
The two most costly forms of waste crime to England’s economy are fly-tipping and illegal waste sites.
Fly-tipping has risen from £209m to over £392m annually since 2015. Meanwhile, the operation of illegal waste sites, which accounts for an estimated £236m, is up from £98m.
This comes after a recent national YouGov poll found that just 46% of people know their legal responsibilities for waste disposal.
In fact, 70% are unaware that they face prosecution if they fail to make the necessary checks and a third party ends up fly-tipping their waste.
“Waste criminals are exploiting a lack of public awareness and lack of regulatory oversight in this area, which has led to an increase in fly-tipping and illegal waste sites,” said Gavin Graveson, chair of the ESA.
To read the full report in IEMA’s July/August edition of Transform click here
Unfortunately, construction is an easy target for waste crime. So, it is important to stay ahead of the game with regards to taking full responsibility for waste management on site.
This primarily relates to compliance with Duty of Care obligations:
- Ensure you only employ contractors with a valid waste carriers licence. Licences can be checked at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/access-the-public-register-for-environmental-information
- Obtain information with regards to where the waste will be disposed of. Check the site has a valid Waste Permit or Exemption Licence and it is licensed to accept the type of waste. Licenses can be checked at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/access-the-public-register-for-environmental-information
- Ensure fully completed Waste Information/Waste Transfer Note is issued whenever waste is removed from site and waste is described correctly.
- Waste is securely kept to prevent its escape. This includes ensuring storage facilities are fit for purpose and covered over if necessary.
- For further information relating to Duty of Care obligations, refer to https://www.gov.uk/managing-your-waste-an-overview