Councils demand higher fines as fly-tipping soars in England
Published: 13 May 2019

The Local Government Association (LGA) is calling for tougher sentences for fly-tippers as the most recent analysis shows nobody in the last year was given the £50,000 or 12 months imprisonment, which is the maximum penalty under the sentencing guidelines introduced in 2014, if convicted at a Magistrates Court.

If the offender is convicted in a Crown Court, they could face an unlimited fine and up to five years imprisonment.

Cuts to local budgets and increased costs of waste handling has lead to a greater escalation of fly-tipping across England, however courts have failed to impose the toughest sentences available, therefore not acting as a deterrent for rogue operators.

In 2017/18 there were almost a million recorded fly-tipping incidents in England, a 40% rise from 714,637 in 2012/13, according to the statistics published by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). For minor offences councils can issue fixed penalty notices, however, they are often unable to enforce this power due to the pressure on their budgets.

The analysis carried out by the Press Association states that with councils facing pressure on their budgets, the majority now charge for bulky and garden waste collections, which could potentially encourage people to fly-tip.

Cllr Martin Tett, chair of the LGA's environment board said that dumping of waste illegally on roadsides, verges and outside homes is "inexcusable environmental vandalism".

He also added: "Councils are doing everything they can to try and deter fly-tippers. However, prosecuting them often requires time-consuming and laborious investigations, with a high threshold of proof, at a time when councils face significant budget pressures.

"Consistent and hard-hitting prosecutions are needed to deter rogue operators and fly-tippers. Councils also need adequate funding to investigate incidents and ensure fly-tippers do not go unpunished."

The LGA is calling for the Government to review guidance to the courts to ensure significantly tougher sentences for worst offenders and ensure councils have enough funding to investigate and prosecute fly-tippers across the country.

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