New rules come into effect today that will crackdown on waste crime, creating cleaner communities and protecting our natural environment.

The legislative amendments will speed up prosecutions for rogue waste site operators, making it easier to take action against those flouting the law.

The changes come as part of the Government’s ongoing crackdown on waste crime, which costs the UK economy £568 million a year and diverts as much as £1 billion each year away from legitimate business operations.

They also come ahead of the introduction of fixed penalty notices for small scale fly-tipping next year, giving local authorities an alternative to costly prosecution.

Resource Minister Rory Stewart said:

“Waste crime blights communities and poses a risk to human health which is why we need to crackdown on the dangerous minority that flout the law.

“Tackling the problem at its root will help us to protect our beautiful natural environment, build a more efficient waste industry and support legitimate operations.”

From today waste operators will have their permits suspended if found to be in breach; regulators will also be able to apply to the High Court for an injunction to enforce these suspension notices.

The changes also aim to protect members of the public by allowing regulators to take steps to remove risks of serious pollution and require site operators to display signs explaining that waste cannot be brought onto the site.

Gillian Pratt, Acting Director of Regulated Industry at the Environment Agency, said:

“We welcome the strengthened powers that come into effect today. They will allow us to take faster and even tougher action against waste criminals.

“If an operator breaches their permit we will now be able to act more swiftly than before to bring them back into compliance – or they may face suspension or legal action.”

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