Agency makes a mess of waste

The Environment Agency's handling of its waste regulation function is calling the quality of its management seriously into question. Inspection targets have lately been chopped and changed seemingly at a whim, with damaging effects on staff morale and enforcement work and allegations of fiddling of inspection records. Former local authority officers feel cheated by waste regulation's lowly status and the appointments process. Staff disaffection has been compounded by a recent reorganisation which left many with lower pay and gradings than expected and by pressure tactics from managers.

A manager in a waste management company who recently met a group of waste regulators from the Environment Agency was amazed when they stood up while the discussion on the point at issue was still unfinished and told him they had to leave. When asked why, they said: "We're sorry, but we have to go and do some inspections."

The incident was a lesser consequence of the Agency's decision to make achievement of 75% of the inspection frequencie

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