LAs given power to fine fly-tippers on the spot
Starting this week (9 May), local authorities (LAs) will be given greater powers to tackle the crime by issuing fixed-penalty notices (FPNs) of between £150 and £400 to those caught in the act of small-scale fly-tipping; anything from old fridges or sofas to garden waste or rubble.
Introducing FPNs for fly-tipping is part of the government’s commitment to reduce waste crime, which costs the economy millions of pounds a year in clean-up costs, undermines legitimate business, and poses serious risks to our environment.
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), which has introduced the LA powers, says that the ‘small-scale’ instances covered by the FPN provision make up the majority of cases as two-thirds of all incidents involve household waste in amounts small enough to be dumped from small vans or cars, 48 per cent of which occur on roads.
The latest government statistics show that incidents increased by 5.6 per cent in 2014/15 to around 900,000 cases and cost local authorities around £50 million per year.
It is hoped that the introduction of FPNs will help decrease the incidents of fly-tipping and save LAs time and money in punishing offenders as they will provide a quicker alternative to prosecuting fly-tippers through court.
Prosecutions will remain an option for local authorities in punishing large-scale waste criminals.
Tool to use against ‘selfish individuals’
Commenting on the new powers, Resources Minister Rory Stewart said: “It’s beyond me that anyone feels it’s acceptable to simply dump their waste by the road – whether in our cities or our countryside. The FPNs will provide LAs with another tool to crack down on selfish individuals who blight our neighbourhoods and ruin our beautiful landscape.
“The fines will also act as a deterrent and we will continue to work with LAs to tackle the root cause of the crime and change the mentality of the few who commit it.”
The introduction of the new LA powers comes ahead of the launch of the national litter strategy currently being worked on by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
The government is working with LAs, campaign groups and businesses, including fast food restaurants and manufacturers of chewing gum, confectionary and soft drinks to create the plan, which it believes that this will create a ‘collective sense of responsibility’ over the issue.
KBT ‘delighted that the government has listened’
Environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy (KBT) welcomed the introduction of FPNs to deal with small-scale fly-tipping incidents outside of court, but warns that more needs to be done to stop the increase in such waste crimes.
Allison Ogden-Newton, KBT Chief Executive said: “We are delighted that the Government has listened to KBT and to the LAs who have been calling for this change to the law.
“However, more work is needed if we are to get a grip on this problem, in particular looking at prevention of fly-tipping before it occurs. We will shortly be launching a brand new call to action on fly-tipping, outlining exactly what is required to eradicate this menace once and for all.”
More information can be found at gov.uk.