We recently strengthened the Environment Agency’s powers to tackle problem waste sites and we allocated an extra £30 million for waste enforcement in last year’s Budget. We have also consulted on tightening the permitting and exemptions regime to improve the waste sector’s performance. Later this year, we will publish a resources and waste strategy that will set out our wider approach.
Yes, I can confirm to my hon. Friend that the new powers will enable the Environment Agency to do that. For example, they give the Environment Agency the power to lock gates and physically close down problem sites, and to require all waste to be removed from a site at which there are problems. We are also going to introduce tougher standards for those who hold licences.
On Monday, I shall join Newcastle volunteers on a litter-pick, but they cannot be expected to deal with the vast tubs of oil waste left by fast food outlets or mattresses left by landlords when their tenants change. What additional powers and resources will the Minister give to local authorities so that my constituents can live in the environment that they deserve?
We have already made it clear that we are going to consult on tightening up the powers to take action against people who give their waste to fly-tippers, so that we can bring them to account more easily. Later this year, our resources and waste strategy will address some of the issues that the hon. Lady mentioned.
Additional powers are all well and good, but without additional resources, local authorities can do nothing effective because of the restrictions on their budgets. We have a particular problem in Enfield with things such as tyres and with skip companies not following legislation. It is difficult for the council to prosecute when resources are so tight, so what is the Minister going to do?
All such sites are covered by a permitting regime that is run by the Environment Agency. We have put £60 million of extra money into the Environment Agency in recent years, including £30 million in the past year to deal with these sorts of problems.