The UK’s Environment Agency carried has out an intelligence gathering operation at Harwich International Port in Essex in a bid to crack down on the illegal export of waste.
The Agency explained that specialist enforcement officers stopped and checked 30 HGVs carrying waste to identify any materials being unlawfully exported to Europe. As part of the operation, drivers were asked to produce supporting documents and waste loads were examined.
Field Intelligence officers, port officers and members of the illegal waste shipments team were on hand to speak with drivers passing through the port, offering advice and support on transporting waste abroad legally.
The EA said that the team on site made use of the its Incident Command Unit, enabling them to receive emailed paperwork from waste contractors when it was found to be missing.
In total, 29 trailers were inspected and 18 were found to be carrying waste. In each instance paperwork was examined and in nine cases there were missing or incomplete documents.
These were eventually all completed with the support of Environment Agency officers and the vehicles were allowed to continue their journeys.
“The sheer volume of material that we found today and prevented from being exported illegally is a big win, but our work isn’t finished,“ said Chris Smith, National Intelligence Manager at the Environment Agency.
“Today’s action sends a strong message that we will track down those involved in illegal waste activity. We intend to continue our inspections of waste at ports across the country to ensure waste being exported is done so legally,” he continued.
Smith added that Exporting waste illegally is harmful to the environment and the economy. It undercuts legitimate businesses, harms human health and the environment in destination countries.
“Waste crime is a serious issue diverting as much as £1billion per annum from legitimate business and the Treasury. Since April 2011, the Environment Agency has invested £65.2million in tackling it,” he concluded.
Anyone with information about suspected illegal waste operators should call Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555 111.
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