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Waste crime regulations

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New powers have been introduced by Wales to help Natural Resources Wales and local authorities tackle illegal activity in the waste sector, estimated to cost the Welsh economy up to £32m a year.
A consultation on tackling waste crime and poor performers in Wales’ waste industry has been published today.

The Waste Enforcement (England and Wales) Regulations 2018 are part of a range of measures aimed at tackling waste crime and poor performing waste sites in Wales.

There are a small number of waste operators whose activities either fail to meet the required standards of their permit /exemptions or operate illegally with no permit or exemption in place. These sites can cause pollution to the environment and endanger human health.

Two new powers have been introduced which will:

  • Give Natural Resources Wales (NRW) the ability to prohibit/restrict access to permitted and illegal sites in order to prevent a risk of serious pollution, for example, by stopping more waste coming onto a site or to stop pollution from continuing. This power will come into force on 29 March 2018.
  • Expand NRW and Local Authorities’ (in their capacity as waste collection authorities) powers to serve a notice on occupiers and owners of land, requiring them to undertake specified action on waste unlawfully kept or disposed of on their land including its removal. The section 59 power to remove waste has a transition period of 2 months for landowners/operators to become familiar and make necessary changes to their leases and will come into force on 9 May 2018. 
Landowners are encouraged to be vigilant and:
  • Check any empty land and property regularly and make sure it is secure. 
  • Carry out rigorous checks on prospective and new tenants. Land and property owners have a responsibility to ensure anyone leasing their land/property complies with regulations. 
  • Where a tenant is planning on carrying out a waste activity, check correct permissions are in place by using public register or contacting NRW.
  • Be aware of potential liabilities from abandoned waste or illegal or polluting operations.
  • Consider leases and insurance on rented land and ensure there is provision for abandonment of waste.
  • Anyone who sees waste crime taking place is advised not to approach as these people can be dangerous. Report it by contacting NRW on 0300 065 3000 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.