Government unveils plans to crack down on waste

On 21 January 2022 Environment Minister revealed new plans to reform the waste industry, it is envisaged the reforms will lead to a crackdown on waste crime. Two new consultations outline the proposals. It is thought the reforms will bring an increase in background checks on businesses that transport and/or trade waste. This should stop waste handlers concealing their identities to commit serious waste crime and ensure only authorised persons are managing the waste, making it more difficult for unregistered operators to obtain work in the industry.

Mandatory digital waste tracking will also be introduced under the new plans, utilising powers in the Environment Act to revamp existing waste record keeping. This should result in waste handlers’ recording information from the point waste is produced to when it is disposed of, recycled and reused. This should aid regulators in detecting illegal activity and tackling waste crime.

The Government and Devolved Governments are working together to build a UK-wide digital waste tracking service for waste handlers. Such a tool will help businesses to comply with their duty of care with respect to waste and help them to make more informed decisions with regards to how their waste is managed.

These new plans improve on the extra £60million issued to the Environment Agency to tackle waste crime since 2014 as well as new powers to stop illegal waste sites creating a risk to the environment, such as the power to lock up sites and make operators clean up all their waste.

The carrier, broker, dealer consultation will seek views from the waste industry and other stakeholders on the change from a registration to a permit-based system. Such a change would mean those moving or making decisions about waste must show they are competent to make those decisions.