A taskforce dedicated to tackling serious and organised waste crime has been launched today, which brings together law enforcement agencies, environmental regulators, HMRC and the National Crime Agency.
The Joint Unit for Waste Crime (JUWC), one of several initiatives in the government’s Resources and Waste Strategy, will perform a variety of roles to tackle illicit waste activities, such as the dumping of hazardous materials on private land, or the deliberate mislabelling of waste for export to unsuspecting countries. The new unit will have the power to conduct site inspections, make arrests and prosecutions, and push for heavy fines and custodial sentences for those found guilty of being in breach of the law.
With the cost of serious and organised waste crime within the UK estimated to be in excess of £600 million a year, there has been early support for the launch of the JUWC within the waste and resource management sector, with CIWM urging the industry to support this initiative.
Trevor Nicoll, President of CIWM, said:
“Our response to the growing threat of serious and organised waste crime must be swift and effective and this new unit provides for the multi-agency collaboration and intelligence-sharing that is crucial to achieving this.
“With conservative estimates indicating that waste crime costs the economy £600 million a year, it is important that the waste and resource management sector supports this initiative and continues to work collaboratively with government and regulators on a range of measures to curb the opportunities for organised criminal groups to be able operate in this sector.”
It is hoped that the formation of the JUWC will encourage greater synergy between Joint Unit partners, through the creation of a platform where intelligence and resources can be shared easily amongst organisations. The JUWC, if implemented successfully, should go some way to realising a principal aim of the Resources and Waste Strategy; to tackle waste crime whilst simultaneously driving up levels of performance in the industry.