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How we can help tackle industrial-scale Fly Tipping

Thursday, July 4th, 2024

In the Forum’s meeting on 26th June, Inspector Ellis reported on ‘Operation Angola’: “in relation to ‘industrial scale’ flytipping, we have had some recent major successes working with partner agencies eg Environment Agency, Buckinghamshire Council. Some significant arrests have been made.”

This is an excellent development in itself, and an example of successful cooperation between Thames Valley Police and partner agencies.

Please see this blog article from the Environment Agency: https://environmentagency.blog.gov.uk/2024/05/08/operation-angola-we-need-your-help/

Main points:

  • The Environmental Services Association has estimated that illegal waste activity costs our economy over £1 billion annually, money being taken away from other essential services. 
  • Not only is there a significant cost to economy; there are negative impacts on our health and environment.
  • Operation Angola is just one of the waste crime investigations the Environment Agency is dealing with. This operation has been ongoing since 2015 into a series of break-ins into yards and buildings and on to land throughout the south-east of England. Once they have gained access, the criminals involved unlawfully deposit large quantities of waste.  
  • The scale of the offending is significant and is estimated to have cost its victims over £30 million to date. These costs are being met by landowners, businesses or local councils to clear up the devastation being left behind.
  • The Environment Agency has identified over 400 sites linked to this operation with an estimated financial gain to the offenders of over £70 million!
  • Since 2017 over 20 individuals have been prosecuted; other tactics such as vehicle seizures and upstream interventions have been used to prevent further offending.
  • Organised criminals work within the waste industry. They operate across county boundaries, and they are likely to be involved in a wide variety of other criminal activity such as drugs trafficking, modern slavery, firearms and fraud. These criminals can be violent, threatening and intimidating.

How the Public can help

  1. Report: the sooner the Environment Agency knows about a new site, the sooner it can intervene and stop the offending, resulting in a lower clean-up cost for the innocent landowner.
  2. Stop these criminals getting hold of waste in the first place. We can help by doing the right thing with our own waste: Dispose of household waste – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
  3. If you ask a private waste company to take your waste away for you, first check they are a registered waste carrier: Waste Carriers, Brokers and Dealers (data.gov.uk)

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