Speaking to waste industry delegates in the House of Commons on 22nd January the Recycling Minister Lord de Mauley commented that, while DEFRA would work to ensure that regulation does not provide uncertainty to investors by creating an ‘uneven playing field’, he said: “Proportionate regulation is vital to protect the environment and there must be a level playing field for investors to have confidence. Waste operators who are flouting the law will not be tolerated. The Environment Agency is dealing with issues including illegal waste exports and incidents where waste is dumped illegally. DEFRA is working to ensure that that the level of fines for acts of illegal dumping do act as a deterrent.”

There has been particular focus in 2012 on illegal WEEE exports and, more recently, of suspected fraud at a number of recyclers’ sites and the Minister’s comments are clearly indicating a more rigorous approach by Government.