Counting the Cost of UK Waste Crime

22nd July 2021

by Sam Taylor, Leyla Lugal

This new report commissioned by the Environmental Services Association shows that the cost of waste crime in England to the legitimate waste industry and the taxpayer increased to £924m in 2018/19.

The report, Counting the Cost of UK Waste Crime, shows that the total cost of waste crime in England has increased by 53% from £604 million in 2015.

The two most costly forms of waste crime to England’s economy are fly-tipping, which now exceeds £392 million (rising from £209 million in 2015) and the operation of illegal waste sites, which account for an estimated £236 million (up £98 million since 2015).

The report makes a series of recommendations to address the issue of waste crime:

  • Tighten the entry requirements for waste carriers, brokers and dealers to prevent criminals from accessing the sector;
  • Bolster duty of care enforcement to stop criminals from being able to access, store or process waste illegally;
  • Increase Environment Agency and Joint Unit for Waste Crime (JUWC) funding in the longer term – the Environment Agency’s current waste crime enforcement budget is just 3% of the total cost of dealing with consequences of waste crime
  • Introduce new waste crime reporting to better record and track the scale and impact of waste crime across the country.

Eunomia completed two previous reports on waste crime: Waste Crime: Britain’s Dirty Secret in 2014 that assessed the economic impact of waste crime on the UK as a whole; and Rethinking Waste Crime in 2017, which looked at the economic impact of waste crime in England and recommended a package of changes to modernise the country’s waste management system

This report is available free of charge. Press the orange button and supply a few details about yourself in order to access the download.