CIWM begins ‘Fighting Waste Crime’
The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) has today (6 January) launched a year-long campaign against waste crime, announcing that it will be contributing almost £50,000 to an initiative raising business awareness of the Duty of Care.
A first phase of the ‘Right Waste, Right Place’ campaign, led by the Environmental Services Association (ESA), has already received £95,000 from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) through the Environment Agency (EA), and will run until May this year. This phase will see speakers from the waste and resource management and waste producing sectors, as well as the EA, explore how best to communicate Duty of Care requirements to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Funding from CIWM, which has been matched by the ESA Education Trust (ESAET) will support the second phase of the campaign, which will tailor the message to specific SME sectors ‘to extend its reach and penetration’.
The Duty of Care is a legal requirement established in the Environmental Protection Act 1990 for producers of commercial, industrial and household waste to ensure that it is stored, transported and disposed of without harming the environment.
Under the requirements, anyone who pays for their waste to be taken away by an unauthorised person could be fined up to £5,000. The EA urges anyone handing over waste to check the licence of any waste operative to ensure they are a registered waste carrier.
CIWM’s own ‘Fighting Waste Crime’ campaign is planned to run throughout 2016. The body expects the campaign to encompass a range of activities, including holding CIWM centre open meetings exploring topics such as fly-tipping and enforcement.
The campaign will also include a renewed focus on training and qualifications, particularly Technical Competence and Duty of Care for businesses to help them ensure they are compliant. Resources on waste crime and related issues will also be published on the CIWM website throughout the year.
Tackling waste crime could lead to business benefits
CIWM Chief Executive Officer Steve Lee said: “CIWM believes that a more robust Duty of Care regime is essential for our sector; improved awareness of the requirements will deliver significant and widespread benefits right across our sector, including reducing the opportunities for waste crime by ensuring that businesses understand their obligations and have the right knowledge to avoid illegal operators.
“The Right Waste, Right Place campaign also complements other initiatives being rolled out, including Defra’s efforts to remind the general public of their responsibilities as part of its ongoing crackdown on ‘waste cowboys’.”
ESA’s Head of Regulation, Sam Corp, added: “ESA is delighted that CIWM is supporting this initiative and the additional funding will help deliver a really compelling campaign. Better awareness of Duty of Care will not only help to tackle waste crime but can also lead to business benefits by encouraging companies to [manage] their waste more effectively.”
Government action on waste crime
At the 2015 Conservative Party Conference in October, Environment Secretary Liz Truss pledged to ‘crack down on waste cowboys’ through on-the-spot fines, ‘enabling law-abiding businesses to thrive’.
Shortly afterwards, the government announced that fixed-penalty notices for fly-tippers would be introduced in England ‘at the earliest opportunity’ after a consultation into waste crime enforcement in England and Wales. Defra also stated that legislation will be amended to extend the powers of regulating bodies.
In recent months, the EA has been promoting awareness of the Duty of Care and the ramifications of waste crime on the public, and in September 14 people were arrested in the North East as part of an investigation into a suspected £78-million landfill tax fraud.
More about how the EA tackles waste crime can be found in Resource’s feature article.