New powers are to be introduced for the Environment Agency to lock gates or block access to problem waste sites.
The Government has also launched a new consultation to tackle crime and poor performance in the waste sector. Both have been welcomed by Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan.
Waste crime cost the English economy more than £600million in 2015, while last week, we reported that Northumberland County Council spent more than £100,000 cleaning up fly-tipped waste in 2016-17.
The new powers will also enable the Environment Agency to force operators to clear all the waste at a problem site, not just the illegal waste.
Proposals in the consultation document include raising the bar required to hold waste permits and putting a stop to criminals hiding their illegal activities by requiring them to register low-risk waste operations which are currently exempt from the need to hold a permit.
Mrs Trevelyan said: “Waste crime and fly-tipping blight our communities and spoil our countryside, and we need determined action to tackle it. Our area is one of outstanding beauty and supports a diverse and flourishing environment. Furthermore, it is home to many varieties of animals and birds which are part of our beautiful landscape and ecosystem. I am delighted these new powers for the Environment Agency will curb the rise of waste sites that continue to operate outside the law.
“This will help ensure that our wildlife isn’t harmed by illegal waste dumping and that our environment is protected from the few that wilfully harm our area by their needless and dangerous actions.
“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. The new consultation looks more widely at the waste sector and the Government is keen to hear from industry and the public on how they can improve performance, tackle illegality and protect our precious environment.
“I would encourage everyone to take part in the consultation to ensure their voice is heard in this process.