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EA sting discovers 11 illegal waste sites in Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire

A one-day sting carried out by the Environment Agency (EA) across Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire has uncovered 11 illegal waste sites in the area.

Of the 11 sites discovered by EA officers last Thursday (7 March), six sites were found where waste had been burned, three where construction and demolition waste had been stored, one that contained household waste and one that was operating as a scrapyard. All sites were operating illegally.

EA sting discovers 11 illegal waste sites in Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire
An illegal waste site in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire.
Furniture, plastic, insulation, car parts, fuel containers, chimney-sweeping equipment and even a lawn mower and skis were among the items discovered.

The one-day sting, the largest ever in the area, saw a total of 28 sites visited by officers, with 17 found to be operating within the law. The 11 sites found to be operating illegally will now receive written guidance from the EA clarifying the steps they must take, with follow-up visits set to be arranged to ensure compliance by the site operators.

Evidence gathered from the visits will be used against those found to be breaking the law, with possible further enforcement action by the EA including work with local authorities, the police and HMRC to prevent and disrupt crime, the serving of notices to have waste removed from land and the prosecution of offenders. If convicted of illegal waste activity, offenders face unlimited fines and up to five years in prison.

Commenting on the uncovering of the illegal sites, Mark Rumble, Enforcement team leader with the Environment Agency, said: “Yesterday’s successful sting means that, thanks to intelligence from local communities, we found 11 sites where we can now take action to put a stop to activities that blight our neighbourhoods, our environment and our economy.

“Also, it’s encouraging that so many of the sites we visited were not breaking the law, and we continue to offer support to operators who abide by the rules.

“We take waste crime extremely seriously and will be following up every single illegal site we found to bring them in line with the law. We’ll also continue to monitor local reports, so if you have information about suspicious waste activity, report it to us by calling 0800 80 70 60.”

Waste crime represents a significant financial and environmental burden for communities and local authorities, costing the waste industry and taxpayer around £604 million a year in England through lost landfill tax revenues.

The recent Resources and Waste Strategy dedicates an entire chapter to tackling waste crime, with proposals including the introduction of electronic tracking of waste movements and the creation of a Joint Unit for Waste Crime among the mooted approaches for getting a handle on the waste crime blight.

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