Defra is looking for opinions on a range of measures to cover waste companies clean-up costs. Talking in a parliamentary debate, Resource Minister Dan Rogerson said that increased financial provision from waste management operators could be sought through mechanisms such as bonds or insurance.
Rogerson said that the consultation was motivated by concerns around operators which go out of business and into administration, leaving Defra with the clean-up costs. It is thought that if there is some sort of financial guarantee, the money could be used to address any problems. He also pointed out that this would provide less opportunities for rogue operators to obtain permits.
The proposal was first talked about by the minister in March 2014.
Defra will also propose measures to strengthen the Environment Agency’s enforcement powers. These include making sure that the agency can physically stop waste from arriving on waste sites that are in breach of their permits.
Views are also requested on the issue of insurance companies pulling out of the waste market.
The parliamentary debate was secured by Barbara Keeley, Labour MP for Worsley and Eccles South. She raised concerns about Eccles-based White Recycling, which went out of business in January following its permit being suspended.
Residents close to the site had experienced problems such as flies, odour, dust and vermin and had found the Environment Agency’s response to be slow.
Rogerson acknowledged that the EA faced a sometimes difficult challenge of striking the right balance between ensuring business compliance and supporting growth.