UK government unveils plans for digital waste tracking

21st January 2022


The UK government has today opened a consultation on plans to a introduce a new digital tracking system to crackdown on waste crime.

Criminal activities including fly-tipping, illegal dumping, and the illegal export of waste cost the English economy around £924m between 2018 and 2019, with local authorities dealing with nearly 1.13 million fly-tipping incidents alone.

Using powers in the landmark Environment Act, today's proposals would see all organisations handling waste forced to digitally record information from the point waste is produced, to the stage it is disposed of, recycled and reused.

It is hoped that this will enable regulators to better detect illegal activity and tackle waste crime, and help businesses make more informed choices about how their waste is managed.

The government has also opened a consultation on plans to increase background checks on firms who move or trade waste, and to make it easier for regulators across the UK take action against rogue operators.

“New mandatory digital waste tracking will greatly improve transparency in the sector and make it easier for householders to check that their waste is being disposed of legally,” said Environment Minister Jo Churchill.

“Together, these reforms will stop criminals abusing the waste system and make it easier to prosecute offenders successfully.”

Between 2017 and 2020, the Environment Agency stopped illegal waste activity at 2,700 sites and initiated 191 prosecutions for illegal waste sites, with 39 prison sentences handed down.

Moreover, between 2018 and 2019, the agency prevented 12,690 tonnes of waste illegally being exported through intervention at sites and ports.

The government is now seeking views from the waste industry on a move from a registration, to a permit-based system, which would force those transporting or making decisions about waste to demonstrate they are competent to make those decisions.

Sarah Poulter, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Wastes Management, said: “The launch of these consultations provides a valuable opportunity for the UK waste and resource management sector to influence its future direction and help eradicate practices which have tarnished its reputation and deterred much needed investment.

“Correctly implemented, these developments will provide assurance for both waste producers and managers that they are dealing with responsible collectors while directly reducing the impact of waste crime on society and the environment.”

Image credit: iStock

Subscribe

Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.


Transform articles

Renewables account for almost half of Britain’s power generation

Solar power generation hit a new high in the last quarter as renewables accounted for almost half of Britain’s energy production, according to a report from Montel Analytics.

18th July 2024

Read more

Only a third of the emission reductions required for the UK to achieve net zero by 2030 are covered by credible plans, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) has warned today.

18th July 2024

Read more

Almost three-fifths of UK environmental professionals feel there is a green skills gap across the country’s workforce, or that there will be, a new survey has uncovered.

4th July 2024

Read more

Three in five British adults want more public involvement in the planning system, which could be at odds with Labour’s plans to boost economic growth, IEMA research has found.

3rd July 2024

Read more

Ahead of the UK general election next month, IEMA has analysed the Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, and Green Party manifestos in relation to the sustainability agenda.

19th June 2024

Read more

Nine in 10 UK adults do not fully trust brands to accurately portray their climate commitments or follow the science all the time, a new survey has uncovered.

19th June 2024

Read more

Just one in 20 workers aged 27 and under have the skills needed to help drive the net-zero transition, compared with one in eight of the workforce as a whole, new LinkedIn data suggests.

18th June 2024

Read more

Consumers are flexing their purchasing power in support of more sustainable products and services. Dr Andrew Coburn, CEO of sustainability intelligence and analytics firm, Risilience, considers the risk of greenwashing and sets out three key steps businesses can take to avoid the pitfalls and meet the opportunities of changing consumer demand.

18th June 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close