Local MP Jon Cruddas has hailed a recent crackdown on waste criminals in the Borough of Barking and Dagenham carried out by the area’s Environment Agency officers.
In the last few weeks more than 60 waste vehicles were stopped and 53 waste sites were inspected in an Environment Agency blitz on illegal waste operations in London.
Operation Ammolite saw Environment Agency officers teaming up with the Metropolitan Police, British Transport Police, local authorities, the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency and HMRC to target suspected waste criminals.
Road checks in Barking and Dagenham, Tower Hamlets and Enfield stopped 63 waste vehicles to check they had the correct permits. Officers found that 13 did not have a required waste carriers licence – they now have seven days to produce the correct paperwork to avoid prosecution.
Elsewhere, Environment Agency officers targeted 53 waste sites across Barking and Dagenham, Tower Hamlets, Enfield, Hackney, Waltham Forest and Newham to build an intelligence picture of the area and take enforcement action against environmental criminals. Fourteen sites were found to be operating illegally – including two involved in the illegal export of electrical waste and two who were mishandling hazardous waste. The Environment Agency will now work with the site operators to bring them into compliance or take enforcement action, which could include prosecution.
East London has a longstanding history of waste crime, with fly tipping, illegal waste sites and waste burning being common problems. And while the Environment Agency has worked with many waste sites in the areas to ensure they are following the law, there is more work to be done. Waste crime puts the environment and human health at risk and undermines legitimate business.
Operation Ammolite follows a sustained crackdown by the Environment Agency on serious, organised waste crime. Illegal waste sites and their operators blight communities and cause untold damage to the environment. More operations like this are planned to ensure that problem sites continue to be uncovered and the pressure is kept on those who try to dodge the costs incurred to treat waste properly.
Borough Commander Paul Rickett, of Tower Hamlets Police said, "Operation Ammolite is a great initiative to have running in Tower Hamlets. The success of the operation ensures that our waste sites are being run legally."
Local MP Jon Cruddas was similarly positive; “This operation has done a lot of good for the area. We have one of the highest rates of waste crime, and it’s only by getting tough that we can put a stop to it.
“People want to feel proud about where they live, and it doesn’t help when you get fly-tipping and illegal waste sites. There’s a lot more work to be done, but I’m delighted with the progress made in the last month.”