To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will assess the potential merits of giving additional powers to the Environment Agency to enable it to take punitive action against landfill site operators who ignore advice not to tip during severe weather resulting in waste, dust and other potentially hazardous materials being blown off site.
The Environment Agency includes conditions in the environmental permits it grants to operators of landfill sites. Permit conditions can require operators to take all appropriate measures to prevent fugitive emissions of substances, which can include litter, dust and mud, or where that is not practicable to minimise such emissions. Permits can also include conditions that require the operator to clear litter or mud from affected areas outside the site as soon as practicable.
Breach of a permit is a criminal offence and may lead to prosecution. The Environment Agency also has a range of other enforcement powers, including the power to serve statutory enforcement notices, vary permit conditions and suspend or revoke an environmental permit.
Additional enforcement powers are not considered necessary to prevent landfill operators from tipping during severe weather. However, the Government is considering the merits of enhancing Environment Agency enforcement powers to tackle waste crime.