Biffa launches £250,000 initiative to tackle construction waste crime
Waste management company Biffa has invested £250,000 into a new initiative to address waste crime across Yorkshire, by attempting to improve the construction industry’s waste compliance.
The initiative – which has created four new jobs within the company – will introduce a new Construction and Demolition (C&D) service, which allows firms to order same-day skip delivery along with a guarantee of legally compliant collection and disposal.
As construction firms often have high quantities of waste that need to be quickly removed, they are ideal targets for unlicensed waste disposal companies. Contractors are often unaware if it is an unlicensed waste management business collecting their waste, but this still makes the construction firms liable for fines (or even a prison sentence) if their waste is found in an unlicensed and illegal site.
The prompt arrival of skips will prevent waste criminals from being able to pick up the debris from contractors.
Biffa has chosen Yorkshire as the region for its initiative launch because there are nearly 23,000 construction firms registered in the region, making it the ideal trial zone prior to the offering being rolled out nationwide.
Anthony Holley, Regional General Manager at Biffa, said: “While construction activity is at a peak in Yorkshire, unfortunately waste criminals are keen to take advantage of unsuspecting firms who simply want to dispose of their waste as quickly as possible, trusting it to be handled correctly.
“Waste crime undermines all the work we do in managing the UK’s refuse and we want to do all we can to prevent it. By investing in a dedicated C&D offering under the trusted Biffa name, we aim to provide the construction industry with an accessible solution which supports their compliancy, along with Defra and Yorkshire councils’ efforts to reduce waste crime across the region.”
Biffa guarantees same day delivery skip hire in Brighouse, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Batley, Halifax and Ossett if ordered before 11am.
According to the Environment Agency (EA), more than 200 new illegal waste sites containing construction debris were discovered nationwide between March 2017 and March 2018, which is a significant 70 per cent increase compared to 119 found four years previously.
The EA also found that in England alone waste crime costs the taxpayer and the wider economy over £600 million.
EA has been responding to such concerning statistics by increasing the powers of waste enforcement officers. For instance, officers are now equipped with body cameras to challenge the incidents of abuse when confronting waste criminals. Officers can also block access to illegal sites, and force operators to clear waste.
Meanwhile, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) launched a waste crime review in June to explore ‘serious and organised crime’ in the waste sector, the results of which were released in November, calling for waste operators to be fined for mislabelling their waste to avoid tax rules and for the creation of more effective legislation to allow for the prevention and disruption of organised crime in the waste sector.