Rogue waste crime operators could be slapped with new fines if they mislabel their waste to dodge tax rules, an independent review ordered by Environment Secretary Michael Gove has recommended.

The review also concluded that compulsory electronic tracking of waste could help clamp-down on illegal movements of waste at home and abroad, and that there should be financial penalties for producers if their waste is found to be deposited illegally.

Tackling waste crime cost the English economy more than £600 million in 2015.

The review found that the government should give the criminals responsible greater cause to fear the consequences of their actions.

Welcoming the findings, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: "The threat to society from waste crime is real. Criminals are running illegal waste sites as a cover for theft, human trafficking, drug running and money laundering.

"It is costing our economy millions of pounds each year, and blighting our communities."

Other recommendations include a Joint Unit for Waste Crime (JUWC) led by the Environment Agency with the Police, Crime Commissioners, HMRC and waste industry representatives working together to tackle the most serious cases.

Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, said: "Serious waste crime is the new narcotics – it damages the environment and harms local communities.

"This report represents an opportunity to ensure we have the right powers, resources and coordination to win this fight."