Wired-GOV Newswire (news from other organisations)
LGA - Fly-tipping: on-the-spot fines come into force
New powers are coming into force allowing councils to issue on-the-spot fines of up to £400 for fly-tippers who make residents' lives hell and cost taxpayers millions of pounds.
The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, has long called for the system for tackling unscrupulous fly-tippers to be overhauled.
From this month (May), on-the-spot Fixed Penalty Notices can be issued for the first time by council enforcement officers to help tackle small-scale fly-tipping, like dumping items such as pieces of broken furniture, old televisions and mattresses.
The move comes as the cost of clearing up fly-tipping in England has hit nearly £50 million, with councils having to deal with almost 900,000 incidents every 12 months. Latest figures show the number of recorded incidents has risen by almost 6 per cent for 2014/15 compared with 2013/14, while the clear-up costs increased by 11 per cent. Councils are carrying out over half a million enforcement actions every year, costing almost £18 million.
Councils use enforcement powers proportionately and take a range of different approaches to raise awareness and change culture. This includes providing advice and encouraging residents to report incidents and businesses to keep areas next to their premises clean and clear of litter and mess that can attract dumping.
LGA Environment spokesman Cllr Martin Tett said:
"At a time when councils face difficult choices about services in the light of reducing budgets, they are having to spend a vast amount each year on tackling litter and fly-tipping. This is money that would be better spent on vital services such as filling potholes and caring for the elderly. Litter and fly-tipping is environmental vandalism – it's unpleasant, unnecessary and unacceptable.
"The Government has responded to our call for councils to be able to apply Fixed Penalty Notices for small scale fly-tipping – and this is a big step in the right direction. Councils also need a faster and more effective legal system which means fly-tippers are given hard-hitting fines for more serious offences. Local authorities should also be able to recoup all prosecution costs, rather than be left out of pocket.
"Not only does fly-tipping create an eyesore for residents, it is also a serious public health risk, creating pollution and attracting rats and other vermin.
"There are a number of additional changes that would help tackle littering and fly-tipping, including sharing more of the responsibility with product producers – such as mattress and chewing gum manufacturers - to contribute to the costs of clear up."
Croydon magistrates ordered the 10 defendants to pay a total of £2,100 for offences ranging from fly-tipping local businesses' waste to dumping household rubbish and littering cigarettes. The council has now successfully prosecuted 90 people since launching the Don't Mess campaign, which combines enforcement with encouraging over 280 locals to lead community litter picks.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council has launched a new taskforce to tackle fly-tipping.
More than 4,500 reports of fly-tipping have been made over the past year, with almost 1,200 enforcement notices.
Offenders have paid thousands of pounds in fines and on average one fly-tipper is caught and convicted every week.
Local authorities dealt with a total of 900,000 incidents of fly-tipping in 2014/15, an increase of 5.6 per cent since 2013/14. The estimated cost of clearance of fly-tipping to local authorities in England in 2014/15 was nearly £50 million, an 11 per cent increase on 2013/14. Local authorities carried out nearly 515,000 enforcement actions at an estimated cost of £17.6 million in 2014/15
Fixed penalty notices background
The range of fly-tipping FPN fines is set out here:
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