More than 60 suspected illegal waste sites across England were given surprise inspections by the Environment Agency in a ‘day of action’ against waste crime on 27th March. Over 100 Agency officers visited sites as part of Operation Cyclone – including scrap metal yards and major construction projects where construction waste was suspected of being disposed of unlawfully. Roadside stop and searches of vehicles were also carried out in conjunction with Police, Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), British Transport Police, HMRC and Trading Standards, as well as aerial reconnaissance to check for activity at suspected illegal sites. Officers also used SmartWater to mark waste, in order to provide future evidence of whether it is dumped or exported and support potential EA prosecutions. Items with SmartWater on them can be tracked using GPS systems and the liquid also becomes visible under ultraviolet light.
David Burton, of Strateco, commented “ It is encouraging to see a tightening of regulatory enforcement when, for so long, the bonafide players have possibly been subject to over regulation because of their auditable procedures and openness – whereas any risk analysis will show that those who either operate outside the system or do not have auditable procedures carry the highest risk of compliance breaches. This also has to be seen as a clear warning to those, including some major companies, who may often allow cost considerations to overcome their duty of care when it comes to waste disposal”.