Environment Agency uses new powers to block illegal waste site

The Environment Agency (EA) has blocked access to an illegal waste site in Birmingham, using new legal powers for the first time.

The EA took the action following an investigation into waste company TP & G Specialist Limited, based in Haymills in Birmingham, which revealed that the company was operating without an environmental permit. Operations on the site were causing emissions such as dust and smoke, which were affecting neighbouring properties.

Waste was dumped illegally at the site in Haymills, Birmingham, despite repeat warnings.
Waste piles up at the illegal site in Birmingham.
Despite efforts to bring the site into compliance, including multiple visits from EA officers, the business continued to operate illegally. A restriction order was granted by Birmingham Magistrates Court on Friday 26 April and was served by EA officers the same day.

The restriction order is the first of its kind to be served; it restricts access to the offending site and prohibits waste from being accepted there for the next six months.

The new powers were announced at the start of 2018 and introduced in March the same year, following a consultation in which 90 per cent of respondents supported proposals for the regulator to take physical steps to curb illegal waste activity. These powers allow the EA to apply to the court for a restriction order to prohibit access to, and the importation of waste into, premises, or a specified part of premises.

Commenting on the use of the restriction order, Lyndon Essex, Environment Agency waste officer, said: “We are determined to make life tough for those who damage the environment and blight local communities. While most waste sites are responsible, the bad apples can cause huge damage along with significant costs to landowners to clear up the mess. We are working hard to ensure those who flout their responsibilities are penalised and the new restriction orders help us to disrupt waste crime as it happens.”

Waste crime represents a considerable cost to the economy at around £600 million a year. In 2018, the EA stopped illegal waste activity at 812 sites – more than two a day – while a record £25.5 million in fines were issued by the courts for environmental offences brought by the EA, up from £8 million in the previous year. In 2017/18, the EA made 93 successful waste crime prosecutions resulting in 17 prison sentences.

Duty of care

Everyone who disposes of waste has a duty of care to ensure their waste is handled correctly. Whether you are a business, local authority or householder you must make sure you know where your waste goes so it doesn’t end up in the hands of illegal operators.

Waste crime activity can be reported to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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