Taskforce to tackle organised waste crime
A new unit, the Joint Unit for Waste Crime (JUWC), will bring together law enforcement agencies, environmental regulators HMRC and the National Crime Agency to tackle serious and organised waste crime, such as dumping hazardous materials on private land, false labelling and financial fraud.
In 2018 alone, waste crime cost the UK economy at least £600m, and the Home Office found that perpetrators are often involved in other criminal activities, such as large scale fraud and modern slavery.
The governmental press release states that the new unit will conduct site inspections, make arrests and prosecutions and push for heavy fines and prison sentences. JUWC will be able to share intelligence between agencies quickly and easily so that it can take swift action when investigating criminal waste operations and other related illegal activities, such as money laundering and human trafficking.
The new unit will improve the Environment Agency’s existing efforts to tackle waste crime. Last year, the Agency’s waste team stopped illegal activities at 912 sites, up 12% from the previous year, and as a result of the prosecutions, businesses and individuals together were fined almost £2.8m for environmental offences in 2018.
The JUWC is one of a number of initiatives in the government’s Resources and Waste Strategy, which heavily focuses on waste crime and improving the waste industry’s performance.
Image credit | iStock