In its second annual waste crime report, the Environment Agency discloses that it stopped 1,279 illegal waste sites in 2012/13 – a 70% increase on the previous year.
The rise is attributed to the success of the illegal waste sites taskforce set up to launch a clampdown.
Construction and demolition waste was the main type of waste in 28% of the active illegal sites.
It has been estimated that waste crime diverts as much as £1bn every year from legitimate businesses and HM Treasury.
Environment Agency director of environment and business Ed Mitchell said: “Waste crime puts people and the environment at risk, and undermines the legitimate waste industry. We are taking tough action to deal with this problem, through the improved use of intelligence and stronger partnerships with the police and other enforcement bodies. The two-year illegal waste sites taskforce has been hugely successful in slashing the number of illegal waste sites operating in England.”