Flytipping penalty powers sought

Published: Saturday 11th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Flytipping is costing taxpayers tens of millions of pounds a year, councils warned as they called for more powers to tackle the problem.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said councils in England and Wales tackle some 711,000 fly-tipping incidents a year at a cost of £36 million, equivalent to the annual cost of collecting waste and recycling from more than half a million homes.

According to the LGA, councils say they are seeing some of the worst cases of fly-tipping ever, with Stoke-on-Trent council fielding 400 complaints a month about items ranging from tyres and cars to baths.

Derby City Council, meanwhile, has set up a special night “enforcement team” to tackle flytippers.

The LGA is calling for councils to be allowed to hand out on-the-spot fines, or fixed penalty notices, for some cases of flytipping rather than always having to take flytippers to court.

They want councils to be awarded full costs if they do secure a conviction in court.

Local authorities are often left out of pocket in court cases when courts only award partial costs and prioritise the payment of compensation above prosecution costs, the LGA said.

Peter Box, LGA environment spokesman, said: “It is utterly unacceptable and inexcusable for anyone to dump waste illegally and councils know how much people hate seeing this sort of vandalism on their doorsteps.

“Local authorities are remarkably effective and efficient in tackling fly-tipping but the current system works against them.

“We need a new streamlined system which helps councils and hurts those doing the dumping, one that is nimble, flexible and effective.

“All the figures show that the huge amount of effort local authorities put into preventing and tackling fly-tipping is having a real impact – but new powers would ensure it goes even further.

“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.”

The LGA said councils use enforcement powers proportionately.

They also use a number of approaches to tackle the problem, including providing advice, encouraging reporting of incidents and urging businesses to keep areas around their premises clean and clear of mess that might encourage flytipping, the LGA said.

Published: Saturday 11th October 2014 by The News Editor

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