Since 2014, the Government have given the Environment Agency an extra £60 million to tackle waste crime, as well as additional powers to take stronger enforcement action. This year we consulted on further measures to prevent crime at waste sites and I have commissioned a review of serious and organised crime in the sector. The review’s recommendations will inform our strategic approach to waste crime in the forthcoming resources and waste strategy.
One area about which I get considerable correspondence from my constituents is that of fly-tipping. Does the Secretary of State agree that it is not only morally reprehensible, but a threat to the environment and our wildlife? Will he also outline what the Government are doing to tackle fly-tipping, particularly in the countryside?
My hon. Friend is absolutely right; fly-tipping is morally reprehensible and does have environmental costs. That is why a review, being led by Lizzie Noel, one of the non-executive directors at DEFRA, and supported by Chris Salmon, former police and crime commissioner for Dyfed-Powys, will look at exactly what powers and sanctions are required to deal effectively with this scourge.
Fly-tipping in all its forms is unacceptable, but it is particularly unacceptable when businesses try to avoid costs by dumping commercial waste on unauthorised sites. In such circumstances, does the Secretary of State feel that those businesses should have their vehicles confiscated, alongside any other assets that they use to facilitate this unacceptable practice?
The hon. Gentleman, like me, is tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime. Therefore, we will give consideration to his recommendation in the review that is being led by Lizzie Noel.