London, UK – The UK Environment Agency has significantly missed targets to cut down on high-risk illegal waste sites in England. In April 2014 the number of high risk (HR) illegal waste sites (IWS) was set at 272 with a target to reduce by 24 per cent to 206 sites by Q4 2015-16. After a reduction in the first two quarters of 2014/2015 the number of HR sites has increased steadily over the last four quarters and is now 323. The Environment Agency in its own words has failed to meet the target by 44 per cent.
179 new sites were found during Q2, 51 of them were HR. 164 sites were stopped, 44 were HR. 86 sites were stopped within 90 days. There are significant variations across the country. For example, Lincolnshire & Northamptonshire have 10 active sites and no HR sites for the second quarter running while Hertfordshire & North London have 144 active sites and 84 HR, an increase of 16 HR in the quarter.
There is evidence to suggest that time spent at poor performing permitted sites had escalated at the expense of IWS work. However effort appears to be on the up again and directors have been very clear that IWS sit alongside poor performers and serious pollution incidents as our top 3 regulated industry priorities. There is also evidence to suggest that some areas are leaving all IWS work to their Enforcement Teams. Service levels assume that extended producer responsibility waste teams will contribute to the effort.
Most of the growth in numbers has occurred in the southeast hub. This may in part be due to inconsistent approaches to assessing reports of new IWS and there are also suggestions of a significant growth in development in this part of the country, although this is proving hard to substantiate other than anecdotally.
Source: UK Environment Agency