Almost a fifth of all waste produced in this country ends up in the hands of criminals, according to a survey carried out by the Environment Agency (EA).
Waste crime includes transporting, dumping, and wrongly described waste, as well as operating illegal waste sites. The EA’s survey found 34 million tonnes of waste were illegally managed every year – enough to fill four million skips. It said the stopping and shutting down of criminals in the waste sector remained a top priority.
In the 2021/22 financial year, the EA brought 94 prosecutions against individuals and companies for waste crime offences, resulting in total fines exceeding £6.2m.
Steve Molyneux, the EA’s strategic lead on waste regulation, said: “Waste criminals’ toxic crimes cause widespread and significant harm to people, places and the economy. The EA is facing well-resourced, highly organised criminals whose crimes stretch beyond the waste sector to include human trafficking, drugs and money laundering. This survey provides us with the evidence we need to help us stay one step ahead of the criminal gangs.”