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Waste Compliance Poor States Environment Agency

13 November 2013

Bethan Stones headshot

Bethan Stones

Group Marketing Manager

Waste Compliance

The EA’s annual stock take of environmental performance in England 2012, shown in ‘The Sustainable Business Report’ reveals that businesses involved in the storage of waste or treatment, transfer and use, landfill, bio-waste and energy from waste activities accounted for most firms in the lowest D,E or F banding, with 363 out of 396.

The Environment Agency report shows that 79 sites have been in the bottom three bands for three years – 75 of these were waste related. The EA stated: “They are damaging the reputation of their business and of their sectors.” The bio-waste sector had the highest amount of sites in the bottom banding followed by the metals sector.

The EA claims that it has reduced administrative costs for all industrial businesses by £15m a year since 2010 and that the figure is set to fall further by 2015, saving businesses £45m a year.

The new push means site operators who comply fully with their permits pay nearly 70% less in regulatory fees than those who do not, according to the EA.

Dr Paul Leinster, EA chief executive, commented: “We have cut the administrative cost to businesses of our regulation. However, around 80 businesses – less than 1% – are bad neighbours with persistent poor performance over a three year period. We continue to work with these sites and operators to improve their compliance.”

Waste Sector Pollution On The Rise

The report also highlighted previously published figures including the increase in pollution from the waste sector meaning waste compliance should be looked at more thoroughly. “Waste-related pollution incidents are increasing, particularly in relation to odour and newer technologies”

The report highlighted odours released from composting organic waste as particularly problematic.

It acknowledged that growth in the treatment of organics through anaerobic digestion (AD), composting and biofuels had increased, leading to less waste going to landfill and more energy recovery. But EA said: “there has been a disproportionate number of incidents coming from these treatment sites, which is causing nuisance to local communities and is damaging business reputation.”

The Sustainable Business Report also claimed that the EA has shut down over 1250 illegal waste sites last year, which is more than ever before. With prosecutions being steady.

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