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Government actions to combat waste crime


Between 2004-05 and 2014-15, landfill tax on waste that emits greenhouse gases rose from £15 per tonne to £80 per tonne  -  a rise that saw the amount of waste sent to landfill reduce by 75% between 2010-11 and 2020-21.

At the same time the money criminals could make by avoiding landfill tax through the misdescription of waste, illegal waste sites, and some types of fly-tipping increased, and organised crime groups have become more involved in waste crime.

HM Revenue & Customs estimates that in 2019-20, £200 million of landfill tax was unpaid through non-compliance, while Defra and the Environment Agency agree that their data significantly understates the scale of some types of waste crime.

The most common actions that the Environment Agency takes in relation to illegal waste sites are issuing advice and guidance (52%) and sending warning letters (37%), and there is a similar response to breaches of environmental permit conditions and major fly-tipping incidents.

The number of times the Agency has prosecuted organisations for waste incidents has dropped from a peak of almost 800 in 2007-08, to around 50 per year running up to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Committee will question senior responsible officials at Defra, the Environment Agency and HMRC on the levels of waste crime being committed, what’s being done to tackle it and what it’s all costing.


If  you have evidence on these questions please submit it here by 6pm on Friday 15 June.

This inquiry is no longer accepting evidence

The deadline for submissions was Wednesday 15 June 2022.

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  • Address: Public Accounts Committee, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA