Reports from the Office of Surveillance Commissioners (OSC), a Government agency, found that staff from the Environment Agency investigating the illegal disposal of waste may have broken the law.
The reports suggested that the agency was considering specifically including evidence gained through trespass and vehicle tracking devices in an attempt to have a court rule on whether it was allowed to continue.
RIPA became law in 2000 and was intended to fight terrorism and serious crime. However, councils and other bodies have been criticised for using it to snoop on the public over minor offences including fly-tipping or misleading school applications.
The Environment Agency used its powers under RIPA to carry out 1,009 surveillance operations between 2004 and 2008,
Last night, the Environment Agency said that it was suspending use of the tactics pending a legal judgement on whether they were acceptable.
However, the agency is also trialling a register of secret informants who report suspected waste offences in the north east of England, and eventually plans a national spy network, the Commissioner reported.
Anyone think that all environmentalists are warm and cuddly still?