Tougher punishments needed to defer fly-tippers

New analysis has shown that no-one convicted of fly-tipping since the government introduced new guidelines in 2014 has been slapped with the maximum £50,000 fine or 12 months in prison by the courts.

The Local Government Association, who conducted the research, say that criminals who dump waste and fly-tip need to be handed tougher sentences to deter them amid an almost 40 per cent rise in fly-tipping incidents since 2012.

The lack of maximum fines handed out is despite fly-tipping incidents rocketing by 39.6 per cent since 2012, up from 714,637 to 997,553 in 2017/18.

Having lost almost 60p out of every £1 the government had provided for services, compiled with the demand on councils’ legal duties, such as caring for elderly and disabled people, councils are now having to do more with less money available for discretionary powers – like issuing penalty notices for fly-tipping.

These funding pressures mean council enforcement cannot keep up with spiralling cases of fly-tipping. Councils took action on 494,034 incidents in 2017/18 – up by nearly 70,000 in five years.

Martin Tett, chairman of the LGA’s Environment Board, said: “Fly-tipping is unsightly, unacceptable and inexcusable environmental vandalism. 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.”