The National Waste Crime Survey set up by the Environment Agency found that the waste industry "continues to consider waste crime to be widespread across England", with respondents estimating that 18% of all waste is managed illegally.
In February 2023 the Environmental Agency undertook a third iteration of the survey, which was previously carried out in 2020 and 2021, with the aim of understanding "the scale of waste crime, what motivates and deters waste criminals, and...respondents’ opinions on the effectiveness of the Environment Agency in tackling waste crime." The respondents were a self-selected group comprised of members of the waste industry, service providers (such as local authorities and environmental consultants) and landowners/farmers.
The cost of living crisis was cited as one reason for the extent of waste crime, which in turn was reported to have a greater financial impact this year than in previous years, "with the cost of clean up being the most commonly experienced impact."
Almost half (48%) of survey respondents did not agree that the Environmental Agency was adequately resourced to deal with waste crime and regulation - with respondents estimating that just 24% of waste crimes are reported to the Environmental Agency.