Natural Resources Wales

Drones and satellites used to tackle waste crime

A drone
Getty Images

High-tech surveillance techniques are being deployed to tackle "unscrupulous waste operators" taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has said.

The environmental body said social-distancing guidelines meant officers were unable to use their usual investigation methods.

So they have turned to sophisticated drone technology and satellite cameras to help track of waste criminals.

The new approach includes:

  • Using drone footage to investigate illegal waste disposal
  • Participating and benefiting from research and tools created in partnership with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency
  • Trialling the use of satellite imagery obtained from the European Space Agency, as well as high resolution commercial satellite data

Adrian Evans of NRW said: “Social-distancing is impacting on how companies supplying goods and services operate and waste criminals are taking advantage of this.

“We have had to modify our ways of working by developing technological solutions to support our work and ensure that waste operators comply with environmental regulations."