Illegal waste warehousing campaign

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4 December 2017

LIFE SMART Waste has partnered with Crimestoppers and a range of organisations to launch a campaign to help tackle the issue of illegal dumping of waste in warehouses and farm buildings.

In the UK we are seeing an increase in incidents of criminals using warehouses and farm buildings to illegally dispose of massive quantities of waste materials. This can result in environmental damage, social disruption and significant cost to our economy.

The Crimestoppers campaign will raise awareness of the issue in Scotland via social and traditional media, calling upon industry and the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious or unusual behaviour.  Crimestoppers is a trusted independent charity helping law enforcement in the UK to locate criminals and help solve crimes. The charity offers anonymous telephone and online services that enable the public to pass on information about crime.

LIFE SMART Waste selected the illegal warehousing of waste to test a collaborative approach to designing and implementing waste crime interventions.  As a key part of the approach, we brought together and worked with an ‘Expert Group’ of partner agencies that included: Crimestoppers, Scottish Business Resilience Centre, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service; Police Scotland; West Dunbartonshire Council; North Lanarkshire Council and Neighbourhood Watch. As a result of the collaboration, three interventions to reduce the incidence of warehousing in waste crime are planned, commencing with this communications intervention.

As part of the communications initiative, we have also engaged with key professional and representative bodies to alert landlords, property owners and businesses to their obligations and responsibilities relating to waste warehousing and storage. Land and property owners have a responsibility to ensure anyone leasing their land or property complies with existing regulations. They may be committing an offence by allowing waste to be stored without the relevant permissions and could leave themselves liable to prosecution.

Terry A'Hearn, Chief Executive of SEPA (the LIFE SMART Waste project’s lead beneficiary) said:

 “Illegally dumping waste is a lucrative business for criminal organisations and warehouses or derelict sites are a prime target to mask this activity, out of sight and mind of the public.

 “The reality is that illegal stockpiling is on the rise and often on an industrial scale. It’s imperative that landowners carry out proper checks on prospective tenants and stay vigilant for suspected criminal activity, as ultimately the burden and cost of clearing waste falls on the owner.

 “Reporting suspicious activity to Crimestoppers will not only help us to identify and take firm action against those responsible, it will allow us map the scale of waste crime in Scotland and ensure that we protect our communities from the impact of environmental damage and social blight, which illegal dumping can cause.

For further information about the campaign, visit the Crimestoppers web site.

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