Fly-tipping offences soar by 50 per cent

The Local Government Association has argued that tougher sentences are needed to deter fly-tipping, with latest figures showing that the issue costs councils £58 million a year to clear up.

Only five per cent of court-imposed fines for fly-tipping offences in England in the past six years were above £1,000, and only a sixth of them above £500. This is despite fly-tipping incidents soaring by 50 per cent over the same period, up from 714,637 in 2012/13 to 1,072,431 in 2018/19.

Council leaders claim that tougher sentences are needed to deter fly-tipping. Councils are taking increasing enforcement action against the criminals responsible, taking action on nearly half a million incidents in 2018/19 – almost 5,000 more than the previous year and up by nearly 75,000 in six years.

However, less money is available for discretionary powers – like issuing penalty notices for fly-tipping, as a result of demand on councils’ legal duties. The LGA is calling on the government to work with councils on reviewing guidance to the courts to ensure the worst offenders face tougher sentences, and that councils have the funding needed to investigate and prosecute fly-tippers.

David Renard, LGA Environment spokesman, said: “Fly-tipping is not only an illegal, inexcusable and ugly blight on society, it is a serious public health risk and costs taxpayers in England £58 million a year to clear up. Councils are determined to crack down on the problem and have increased enforcement activity, including installing CCTV at fly-tipping hotspots to support successful prosecutions.

“However, prosecuting fly-tippers often requires time-consuming and laborious investigations, with a high threshold of proof. Tougher sentences are needed to act as a stronger deterrent to criminals dumping waste. This is why we want to work with the government on reviewing sentencing guidelines for fly-tipping, so offenders are given bigger fines for more serious offences, and ensure councils have the funding needed to investigate incidents. Manufacturers can also contribute, by providing more take-back services so people can hand in old furniture and mattresses when they buy new ones. People should report fly-tipping as soon as possible.”