Wales seeks views about on-the-spot fines for fly-tipping
The Welsh Government is to consult on the introduction of fixed-penalty notices (FPN) of between £150 and £400 for fly-tippers.
Local authorities (LAs) are currently able to dish out on-the-spot fines for minor offences such as littering or dog fouling, but to penalise those who undertake fly-tipping on a small scale, a council has to prosecute through the magistrate courts, which can present a disproportionate level of procedure and expense for small offences.
The 12-week consultation proposes that LAs have the ability to set the fixed on-the-spot amount of between £150 and £400 depending on their local circumstances. This money would then be used to help cover costs of enforcement and clearance of fly-tipping, an issue that cost Welsh councils £2.1 million in 2015/16.
If the FPNs are brought in, Wales would be following in the footsteps of England and Scotland, which currently allow FPNs of up to £400 and £200 respectively for fly-tipping, with England introducing them in May 2016. Last month, the Local Government Association said that English councils have been taking an increasingly ‘no-nonsense approach’ to fly-tipping following the introduction of FPNs, after the number of recorded incidents rose by almost six per cent in 2014/15 to some 900,000, costing nearly £50 million in cleaning costs.
In Wales, respondents to a previous survey were favourable to the introduction of FPNs as it was seen as a quick, easy, and relatively cheap way to deal with the culprits, while it was also felt that it would ease the financial and resource pressures on LAs and the court system.
Large-scale fly-tipping would still have to be prosecuted through the courts.
Fly-tipping: ‘Unsightly, environmentally unfriendly, and it creates extra work for the people’
Commenting on the consultation, Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said: “Fly-tipping is undoubtedly one of those lower-level offences that generates much discussion and discontent among the public. It is unsightly, environmentally unfriendly, and it creates extra work for the people who have to clear it up.
“The purpose of the consultation we are launching today is to gain the views of all interested parties on our proposal to give local authorities the power to introduce fixed-penalty notices.
“The conversations we’ve had so far [indicate] this is a measure that would prove to be popular among the public but we need to ensure if we are going to pursue this option that it is proportionate and workable.
“I hope as many people as possible take the opportunity to respond to the consultation and play their part in developing a system that helps to reduce waste crime and improve the appearance of communities across Wales.”
The public consultation can be accessed on the Welsh Government’s website.